Women have come a long way from the days when “teacher” or “housewife” were their only career choices. Today, they’ve shown they’re every bit as competent as their male peers in just as many fields, including those traditionally dominated by men.
However, they didn’t get to where they are today without a struggle. It’s important to honor those who have pioneered female contributions to traditionally male industries to inspire the next generation of leaders.
Who are some female trailblazers that deserve recognition? Here are five ways women are making a difference in male-dominated industries.
When you think of the manufacturing industry, you might picture men in hard hats working on an automotive assembly line. However, women trailblazers have made considerable contributions toward improving factory methodologies to increase production while protecting worker safety. For example, Agata Choma — Head of Operations at Woodlands Home and Garden Group — helps organizations design manufacturing and warehousing strategies to exceed customer expectations.
Other female manufacturing pioneers refine techniques such as non-destructive testing. Processes such as leak and radiography testing ensure machines remain in good working order without disassembling them or causing unnecessary production delays.
Construction is another field heavily dominated by men. However, here, too, there are women leaders to watch.
For example, Amanda Richalle Kime — who serves as the Director of Safety for the Associated General Contractors of Washington — is a champion of work-life balance. She often talks about how setting appropriate boundaries is critical to having it all, including a thriving career and happy family life.
Blue Coble — Quality Manager at McCarthy — emphasizes the importance of mentorship in helping women break into traditionally male fields. She urges those new to the industry to find others willing to share their knowledge to stay motivated through those first rocky days.
3. Health Care
Women have made substantial contributions to the field of health care. Although they make up the majority of workers, leadership positions in the medical industry are still predominantly held by men. Inclusion matters — especially in this area, as women face considerable disparities in receiving treatment. They still risk having their pain dismissed as hysteria and some have died when physicians mistakenly blame heart attack symptoms on stress.
Furthermore, many female patients prefer doctors of the same gender. For example, a third of breast cancer patients would like a woman radiologist to avoid embarrassment during treatment. Drawing more women into fields like interventional radiology would substantially improve patient care and ease discomfort during one of life’s most challenging times.
The United States needs strong female political leaders like never before if they are to protect the rights earned by previous generations and regain those recently lost. The world mourned the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, once known for fiercely protecting female reproductive health in her fiery Supreme Court opinions.
Fortunately, women remain on the land’s highest court. Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson succeeded Justice Stephen Breyer on June 30, 2022. She’s the first Black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court and one of three submitting dissenting opinions on issues that rightfully belong between a woman and her doctor.
5. Computer Science
Many people desire jobs in the computer science field, but this traditionally male-dominated industry hasn’t been kind to the female set. That hasn’t stopped brave pioneers like Ada Lovelace — who invented the world’s first computer — or Edith Clark, the first woman to earn an MS in electrical engineering from MIT.
These women encourage today’s future computer scientists to ignore what the boy’s club has to say and reach for their dreams. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, these leaders step out of the history that is holding them back and into the new story they are willing to create.
Women Are Making Changes
Some fields have traditionally seen more men than women, but the times are changing. The female pioneers above are making a difference in male-dominated industries.
These leaders show the future generation of young women anything is possible. Use their example to inspire you to reach for your goals no matter what stands in your way.
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