Our industry, much like those of construction, technology, national politics and sports (amongst others) are notorious for being dominated by the male species. Why is that? Is it the old aged theory that women simply “don’t grasp the complicated machines known as cars”? Or is it that we just aren't macho enough? Whatever the reasoning, it simply just doesn't make any sense.
Bottom line…sexism. It plays a major role in our industry and I personally feel it almost every day. I don’t feel it from my colleagues at iMagicLab, probably since I am “just one of the guys” to our crazy bunch, but I definitely feel it from others outside our organization. There isn't a day that goes by that I don’t get “thanks sweetie” or a wink at the end of an email, which I highly doubt my male counterparts get in their correspondence with others in the industry. It doesn't bother me in the least bit (actually makes me blush from time to time, which one can always use) but I do think it’s just the industry standard (odd as it may sound). As mentioned in one of my recent blogs, I recently came to our industry from Corporate America and I can’t think of one occasion that I was treated that way in my tenure there. Probably for the fear of sexual harassment, which can happen in any industry, but for fear nonetheless.
Studies have shown that women in our industry (though few and far between) have rarely held roles at the senior or executive level. Over the last several years I've read several articles stating we would begin to see a paradigm shift- and begin seeing women working in our body shops, making it as senior level executives at the top automakers (Grace Lieblein, VP at GM), to race-car drivers (Danica Patrick). We are breaking down those barriers one by one, and hopefully before we know we won’t just hear “the old car guy” as a reference to those in our industry.
I’d love to see the “no girls allowed” sign taken down, sexism go by the wayside, and for us to continue to build our workforce with the most knowledgeable professionals out there (no matter the gender).
Carey Spillert is a Sales Solutions Manager at iMagicLab. She has recently come back to the industry after years of being a corporate powerhouse. You can follow Carey @theCRMprincess on Twitter and find her on LinkedIn.