Women have made enormous strides in the world of business in recent years, as a result of numerous campaigns by non-profits, universities, and major corporations to increase workplace diversity in industries which have been predominately worked by men for most of their history. However, there are still plenty of industries where a gender balance has yet to be struck—industries that are ready and waiting for a female superstar, whose success can inspire other women to join the field.
For those who pick up the skills for a solid career in business, there will be a niche waiting. Let’s take a look at five of these industries and see what makes them so ready for female leadership.
5. The Tech Industry
The lack of diversity in Silicon Valley and other tech start-ups around the nation has long been a point of contention, occasionally cited as an example of the greater opportunities held by men in business. While entrepreneurial women have certainly made a splash in the tech field lately, such as the feminist dating app Bumble, the gender ratio at companies that aren’t actively working towards feminist ideals remains disappointing. This has often been attributed to the historically low number of female graduates in STEM fields, but as that number has grown the industry hasn’t quite matched pace.
With new technologies like cryptocurrencies and virtual reality seeing rapid growth, there has never been a better opportunity for these women to take their place at the forefront of cutting-edge development.
4. The Advertising Industry
While ad companies today bear little resemblance to the hyper-masculine world of Mad Men, an imbalance persisted in the industry for years, resulting in often bizarre ad campaigns by men aimed at women, selling products that those men didn’t understand.
These days, most ad companies are almost astonishingly equal in their hiring practices, maintaining gender ratios about on par with the population at large. However, particular areas within the advertising and marketing industries are still lagging behind, such as data analytics and even creative direction.
In a world that’s increasingly driven by big data, being able to understand that data and put it to work is the key succeeding. Data analysis has become such a big deal that many universities have made it a central aspect of their business degrees, particularly for those focused on marketing. As advertising grows more reliant on big data and the tech behind it, it’s important for women to keep up and help prevent the industry from settling back into its old ways.
3. The Aerospace Industry
As another STEM-heavy field, it might come as little surprise that aerospace companies are also failing to match up to expectations on gender equality. NASA has become more reliant on private aerospace companies in the 21st century, as the federal government has pushed for more development outside the public sector. Companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic regularly make the news for their latest achievements—but you won’t find many female names among their competitors.
While the realm of space and science fiction has long had a stigma for being a boy’s club, something NASA has tried to remedy over past decades, the track record is still a little bleak. Private industry does offer the opportunity for women to correct this themselves, but it will have to be driven by strong leadership within the field. Space is the future, after all, and it’s more important than ever that women help to shape it.
2. The Marijuana Industry
The legalization of marijuana and its related products continues to march on across many states, with over half the nation having some form of either medical marijuana or recreational marijuana legalized, and even more working towards that goal. National legalization has gone from the idle rallying cry of smokers to a real possibility within the next ten to twenty years, and major corporations have already begun to prepare to leap on that market as soon as it appears. In the meantime, however, state level legalization and the highly restricted nature of interstate commerce in the industry has paved the way for a huge amount of small businesses to thrive and prosper within their own communities.
For those in legal states, a fantastic opportunity has opened—a new market with high demand and little competition from the major companies that might ordinarily crush or simply buy start-ups. There’s plenty of room for women entrepreneurs to stake their claim, offering an alternative to the hazy, often creepy smoke shops of yesteryear.
Companies established today in these legal states will have a leg up when legalization eventually goes nationwide, so for a savvy, patient woman, the limits of growth are nearly nonexistent.
1. The Entertainment Industry
When thinking of the entertainment industry, you might be surprised to find it here—after all, there are plenty of female movie stars with successful businesses under their belt. But this isn’t about the stars in front of the camera; rather, the gender gap that exists among the executives and creatives behind it.
Much has been made about the female superhero films of late, and their female directors, but these films are still being funded, shaped, and planned by male executives higher up the corporate ladder. Male executives who have all-too-frequently been accused of sexual misconduct in the workplace and sexist behavior towards their female employees in general, which culminated in the #MeToo movement.
The best way to stop the rampant abuse of power and power dynamics within the entertainment industry is to reduce the percentage of men who hold such positions. More women executives would offer more opportunities for female creatives to have their projects made and prevent vindictive male executives from being able to single-handedly ruin a woman’s career simply for spurning his inappropriate advances.
Entertainment may remain a cutthroat industry but putting more women in power would save it from being a dangerous one.
Now over to you
Any other industries that you think primed for women leaders? Please share them with us!