HVAC and women are not commonly connected in conversations; however, they’re also not as uncommon as one may think.
As you know, reality and statistics show that the number of women working in the service industry isn’t anywhere equal to the number of men. Questions have been asked many times over, “Why aren’t there more women working in our trade?” or “Why does the service industry seem to have a gigantic partition between women and industry opportunity?”
In my own personal experience, being a woman who has been embraced by the HVAC community, the common devisor is not gender related at all. I believe it to be a perceived lack of opportunity. In the past 30 years, career equality between men and women has truly taken a turn for the better. Is it in the best place it can be? No. But, we have come far enough to stop using gender as the excuse. There are plenty of spaces that could be filled by women.
NO LACK HERE
We have a large opportunity pool that’s growing each year that consists of a mixture of men and women who are ready to roll up their sleeves, change out compressors, dispatch service calls, or maintain the company fleet. Being a woman active in our industry, I clearly vote more women. But, I believe the real draw, if the number of women interested really is that great, is in our male counterparts helping to lead this massive onboarding. When marketable acceptance is genuinely demonstrated from those who seemingly oppose, it opens the door for participation. And that’s true for men and women alike. The issue is not a lack of interest or incompetency. Our industry is one that accepts all levels of skill and provides opportunity to build trade competency. If a woman who had no experience wanted to join our industry, she could. Opportunity is everywhere, from small apprenticeships to local technical schools. But, who said we needed more women only as technicians? If being a technician out in the field is not for you, there are still many supporting and leading roles to choose from.
Let’s shift our focus from the idea that we have a gender deficit.
I would like to set in motion a new question, “What if we stopped making it about men and women and made it about who’s interested?” Being an entrepreneur, a woman, and a member of the HVAC community, my opportunities were always matched with my desire to move forward, not whether or not the door was open. My skill, training, and intense interest in my career is what opened doors. So, it was about my desire to pursue, not my gender. With gender equality ever growing, the industry is evolving and, naturally, more women will feel an increasing amount of comfort to pursue careers as contractors or technicians. Industry leaders are the voices influencing these changes, and they are predominantly supportive and quite accepting. The door is open.
With the female workforce not formally materializing until around the 1930s, we must acknowledge that while our aptitude is high, our age in the workforce is still quite young. Let’s give women the time to come around. Provide open doors and see if their interest sparks. My female counterparts are game for getting dirt under their nails, but maybe they want to do it in other ways. The HVAC team has an open co-ed roster and is setup to have a diversified lineup, but it’s the choice of the player to show up to practice … male or female. So, let’s continue to open our doors to the masses while promoting unmatched opportunity.
Publication date: 4/10/2017