Is it really a man’s world anymore?
It used to be that the painting trade was predominantly an occupation for men. There is a lot of physical labor involved that, in the past, was believed to be beyond the general capabilities of the women. I worked on new construction jobs with my husband 30 years ago and know all to well how women were treated on the job site. It’s been a long time since I had to be on the job site as a painter or helper, but still face issues as a female being the owner/estimator, but that’s another story!
What are the challenges that women face?
I’d like to think that the attitude about female painters has improved, I hear from several company owners or husband/wife teams that report that the females are an important part of their team, often citing that the attention to detail and customer relations are their strong suits. But it’s just not the attitudes, but the practical issues that women face, a great example is finding painter’s pants that fit, Erin from Eco Painting talks about here. There are other challenges, handling ladders, lifting heavy items, and I won’t even discuss the porta potty woes we face! But, as we see more women entering the trade, I think we can find solutions!
Being the Boss Woman
This gets even trickier, as a friend on a popular forum said:
As a woman running a job, I had to walk a line between being taken seriously and being perceived as a bitch.
I have run into that as well, it is tough, and there are plenty of women who run successful businesses to use as models, one of my favorite examples is Lynn Waller of Pixie Dust Painting, what a great role model! Everything from her branding to her use of Social Media exudes professionalism and care!
We all have challenges
I have always resisted playing the “female” card in business, believing that it does not matter what gender you are, it is all about your ability to deliver an end product to the consumer, but there are some differences that need to be addressed, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
12 thoughts on “Being a Woman in a Man’s world”
Very good points Chris. Another point that can be said is this: It is not so much that women can be as good painters or workers as men and how to be accepted as such.
The thing is, that you are different than men. While society in general was exposed to that reality and benefited from it for years now, the paint contracting world is realizing the benefits now.
Thanks George, I think that is an excellent point, sure we are different, that means there are other things we can bring to the table! I salute you and other PC’s who promote a company culture that promotes this!
We have had a couple of female Topcoat Hall of Famers. Good post.
Thanks Scott, yes, I do believe I have spotted one or two on your blog! I believe you, like George, has a company culture that encourages and adapts to women on the jobsites!
Still being a new company, I haven’t had a chance to actually hire a female. But it wouldn’t bother me in the least. My wife has helped me on a few of the bigger jobs I’ve had, and my employee’s girlfriend painted with him for a few years, so she’s helped out as well. I’m looking to hire a crew next year so I can focus more on the business end, so I’ve got my eyes out for males or females. As long as they can keep up and produce nice jobs, I don’t care. I just hope they can find pants!
Thanks Don for keeping an open mind! I agree, it’s all about how they can benefit the team, not just gender!
[Quote] I hear from several company owners or husband/wife teams that report that the females are an important part of their team, often citing that the attention to detail and customer relations are their strong suits. [Quote]
Add me to that list Chris. The girls that work for me are my best employees.
Blog on, Paul
Thanks Paul! Glad to hear, do you find that you have to make any special accommodations for them?
I really don’t have any issues regarding being able to handle a painting contract. If there is something that seems to be a “blue” job versus a “pink” job-I just ask for help! Marketing is so important and branding. I have a hot pink theme to my company- pink shirts, pink truck , and we do try to be seen as a positive and professional company , and we have fun. If you love to paint and colour is your passion- stand out from all the white vans, white pants- spread some magic at work and in your local community. Love, Pixie
And that is what makes you awesome! Thanks Lynn!
What an interesting topic! While I haven’t worked for a paint contractor, I did spend my college years working for a commercial fire sprinkler contractor (actually how I got introduced to the construction business). I did everything: answer the phones, data entry (on our one shared computer), make blueprints, take-offs, spec sheets, estimating, errand girl to run for blueprints (prior to internet) and yes, even time on the job site cutting pipe and climbing through drop-ceilings.
Thankfully my boss never made me feel like I was incapable of doing anything just because I was a girl. He encouraged me to learn as much as I could about the business – and since I was interested in learning, he put me into all of those scenerios.
I will say that for about a year of that 4-year gig, my only bathroom was a porta-one. Our office was a converted pig barn. He was able to get electricity in there, but no water. We had to go outside and use the blue hut. Spiders, crickets and big-old moths, oh my!
Ha! Sounds like “character building” for sure! One of my favorite jobs was working on a hay farm driving tractors, we didn’t have porta potties, just huge hay fields! Thanks Tess!