Would you invite your daughter or granddaughter to work in your tire dealership? Twenty years ago, most dealers probably would have answered ``no.'' But times have changed. Today, with the industry facing a growing need to recruit energetic new workers capable of taking over their employers' businesses one day, independent tire dealers can hardly afford to exclude one out of every two young people entering the labor force over the next four years.
Moreover, placing female employees into sales and other customer-contact positions represents sound business strategy these days considering the growing number of women car owners and tire buyers.
Female customers, who complain of being talked down to by insensitive male sales employees, often prefer doing business with other women.
Business owners and managers should set a positive example, not only by treating women customers without condescension but also by demonstrating confidence in female employees and supporting their decisions.
As the subjects of this issue's special section so aptly demonstrate, women can be every bit as capable and knowledgeable as their male counterparts where tires and automotive services are concerned.
Whereas women were always involved in the tire business, only recently has their contribution begun to be recognized and appreciated.
Many dealerships got their start as husband-and-wife operations. And these working partnerships often remain the prime ingredient in their continued success.
Meanwhile, in the case of some family-owned dealerships today, the mantle of management is being passed down to daughters rather than solely to sons, as long was the case in the tire industry.
Thus it's incumbent on all tire dealers to examine their attitudes and those demonstrated by employees toward women customers and female staff members.
Sexism should be addressed by written company policy and a positive example set by management. It's time for equal opportunity in the tire business.