Being a woman in the workforce is tough. It may sound cliché or redundant, but I didn’t realize just how difficult it could actually be until I gained
experience working in several male-dominated industries.
Prior to transitioning to a career in trade journalism, I spent more than a half-dozen years in female-dominated professions, such as fundraising and nonprofit management, and even worked for several female elected officials. I didn’t know what it was like to work in an environment that was heavily influenced by men—nor did it ever occur to me the experience would be different.
According to an article published by the Pew Research Center, “Some 37 percent of women who say their workplace is mostly male report they have been treated as if they were not competent because of their gender.” But it doesn’t stop there. The article also says 20 percent of women who work mostly with other women and 18 percent of women who work with an even male-to-female ratio have experienced this same treatment. So regardless of an organization’s gender makeup, respectful treatment of women in the workplace remains a general problem for a variety of organizations.
Given the cleaning industry has been historically male-dominated, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that women face barriers to being taken seriously in their professions. However, with the launch of initiatives such as the ISSA Hygieia Network, and an increasing number of strong women serving in leadership positions within the cleaning industry—including at ISSA—we are heading in the right direction.
This month’s issue of CMM celebrates the women in the industry who are leading the way for others by knocking down barriers to success. To see how female leaders all across the industry are getting ahead, check out this month’s cover story in addition to a special question-and-answer session with a female facility director. If they can do it, we can all do it, too.