With all of the focus on inequality, it can be hard to remember the women who are making it in male-dominated industries at this moment. While some are still fighting for better pay and equal rights through strikes and protests, others are working from the inside out; changing the industry with their talent, expertise and insight from a female perspective. Included here are a few women who are incredibly successful in male-dominated industries.
The field of engineering is no doubt a masculine trade. With women feeling excluded from most of the predominantly science-based industries, advertisements have made a recent effort to get girls interested in a S.T.E.M.-focused (science, technology, engineering and math) future. One woman who has been working on the engineering changes from the inside out is Karen Purcell.
Purcell works as the president of PK Electrical Engineering, based in Reno, Nevada. A high school physics teacher pushed her in the direction of engineering after seeing her aptitude with math and science. While Purcell admits she had to work harder than most men to gain respect in the field, after around two years her reputation was beginning to grow. Purcell currently works to further interest in math and science based jobs among young women internationally.
The call of the army has long appealed to young men nationally, but what about the women? Jill Morgenthaler dreamed of a career in the U.S. army after watching her father live a life of excitement among the U.S. Marines. Morgenthaler admits the first struggle of her career was when she joined the ROTC and had to teach them that women could train among men.
Struggles faced by Morgenthaler presented themselves on a daily basis. The rivalry among soldiers is incredibly strong, and many hold resentment at seeing a woman as their superior. While Morgenthaler’s difficulties were more gender-focused than most, she demonstrated an inherent strength of character by overcoming. Even when a male soldier would fail to salute her, she wouldn’t just pull rank, but would use humor to enforce conduct but not belittle him.
If there was ever a stereotypical male based industry, it would be sports. Most of the popular sports, are based on male athletes, and the industry has typically revolved around their expertise and persona. MJ Pedone sought to break into this industry and change the future for women everywhere. Pedone always loved athletics, and her expertise in the PR industry opened the door to her becoming the CEO of Indra Public Relations.
Pedone’s career had to overcome many hurdles when dealing with negativity from competing sports representatives. Pedone’s work expertise comes primarily from hands-on experience, so her confidence in the field was hard-earned. Pedone recommends that women pursue whatever field interests them the most, and their passion for the work will overcome any obstacles.