AKRON (June 23, 2015) — A good way to understand what women in the workforce—including those in the tire and automotive service business — often deal with in working with men is to look at this issue from the opposite viewpoint.
As a man, how would you feel if, for example, every day many of the customers of the tire dealership where you worked directed their questions automatically to the female employee standing next to you to get her opinion, because that person was the perceived expert, even though you owned the dealership or were the manager?
Or how would you feel if women employees and customers constantly commented on your looks, good or bad, and made tasteless, sexist remarks to you?
How would you feel when entering the lunch room there were pictures of shirtless men plastered on the walls?
Even in 2015, it's not uncommon for women employed in the tire and automotive service industry, or any other business for that matter, to have to put up with such issues as they go about trying to do a good job for their employer.
Don't think this is true? Then read the stories about successful women employees and tire and auto shop owners in this issue of Tire Business.
Nearly every woman interviewed had experienced some sort of harassment or faced other challenges simply because she was a woman working in a male-dominated business.
For tire shop owners and managers, recognizing that these types of attitudes and behaviors continue to exist—and trying to eliminate them from their dealerships — is half the battle in solving this ages-old problem. The second part is embracing the talent, expertise, dedication and unique characteristics women employees can bring to their workplaces.
Reading the stories of the impressive women interviewed for this special report shows how strong a workforce women can be, and are, in this industry.
In a marketplace that is experiencing a shortage of talent, viewing women as prospective employees equal to men and capable of filling all jobs in a dealership, from management roles to technician positions, is exciting.
It expands the talent pool, providing shop owners with more qualified candidates to choose from for their open positions, regardless of the job applicant's gender.
Isn't that what every business wants — dedicated, hardworking, talented employees?
Today, women are still a minority in the tire and auto service business, but the demographics are changing and conditions for women are slowly improving. And women are discovering they can have a rewarding career in the industry.
Tire dealerships that pave the way for women to join and move up in their ranks will reap the rewards for their efforts.
This editorial appears in the June 22 print edition of Tire Business. Have an opinion on it? Send your comments or a letter to the editor to [email protected].