Garbageman. Fireman. Doorman. Lineman. These titles have largely remained untouched when it comes to the suffix attached to them. No one talks about garbagewomen or linepersons, and for good reason. Unlike the white-collar professions that women typically go for, these fields are still dominated by men.
According to job-seeker website Zippia, 95 percent of garbagemen are men. When it comes to firemen, women get slightly better representation, with men filling only 82 percent of positions. Women hold 4 percent of doormen roles. Only 5 percent of linemen aren’t men. This is an injustice that must be remedied if we are to achieve true equity as a society.
The white-collar world has led the way on this issue, even if the business world still needs to do the work. Women hold 41 percent of management roles. Twenty-eight percent of C-suite positions are occupied by women. Obviously, both can be improved. In that realm, though, there are digital tools management can use to help them find the “right” candidates when they’re trying to achieve the sex quotas that they totally aren’t trying to achieve. Businesses would never subvert the law in the name of social justice, after all.
When it comes to the aforementioned service jobs, though, stronger tactics are required. There is something about those physical jobs, ones that are often dangerous and dirty, that is preventing the fairer of the sexes from applying. It’s especially concerning as the female of the species is deadlier than the male. There is absolutely no reason women cannot drive a garbage truck, fight a fire, open a door, or put up a telephone pole.
Rosie the Riveter would be disappointed were she an actual woman and still alive to witness these troubling disparities, which also means the first place to start would be a public relations campaign showing women working in these professions. Sure, there isn’t a war to pull all the men away and force the issue — yet — so we’ll also have to find some pioneering garbagewomen, firewomen, doorwomen, and linewomen to show the freedom and independence that comes with breaking the glass ceilings in those fields.
We also need McKinsey and Company consultants to stop myopically focusing on professional positions and start working on solutions for blue-collar ones. Surely, they can do a better job with that than they did with CNN+. Also, though, we must accept that change may take a generation or two.
As such, PBS needs to stop pushing Elmo and make Oscar the Grouch the main spokespuppet. Maybe they can even make a lady Oscar. As a society working to achieve equity, we must demand that it’s Oscar, or lady Oscar, out there posting on social media about his glamorous, empowered life instead of Elmo asking people how they’re feeling. We’ll have to figure out some other pop culture icons to champion the other roles to make sure growing children see female representation in blue-collar positions.
We can’t rely on just PR campaigns, pop culture, and pioneering women to fix these disparities, though. Men will also have to step up and focus on recruiting and hiring more women into these fields, particularly as men currently dominate them. We can do it, brothers, and not just in terms of legal work.
For there is also the fact that 93 percent of inmates in prison are men. This one may be a little easier as there are already more women in the business world. Those ladies are primed to commit some white-collar crime. Embezzlement, anyone? Also, though, if you’re considering robbing a bank or trafficking arms, get some women in your crew. While I realize the goal is to not get caught, increased representation only increases the chances of a girl mob boss getting sent to the slammer.
Ladies, the world is yours. Take it. Remember the saying coined by a group of lesbian separatists, and not Hillary Clinton, that went, “The future is female.” You know what lesbian separatists weren’t planning on having around? Men. They were ready to blaze the trail of an all-female society that would make Barbie blush. Follow their lead.
Can you fight a fire? Yes, you can. Can you install a power pole? Yes, you can. Can you say “hello” and open a door? Yes, you can. Can you commit a series of crimes? Yes, you can. Can you check a curb in your garbage truck? Actually, that is frowned upon, but we can figure something out. The future depends on it.