Women in Business

4 Industries Women Continue to Dominate

For women entrepreneurs, these four industries are ours for the taking.
4 Industries Women Continue to Dominate
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Millennial Entrepreneur, Fashion Influencer, Activist
5 min read
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Women are surprisingly taking over jobs that were previously reserved for men and performing at par or even better, as well as commanding higher pay.

Related: The 24 Most Powerful Female Executives and Their Net Worths

Recent trends suggest that we are moving up from lower paying jobs, where the bigger chunk of the female workforce lay, and taking up positions in previous "men-only" occupations in management, finance, law, leadership, etc. In fact, women statistically make more competent leaders than men, albeit less confident.

Besides demonstrating that what a man can do a woman can do too, we've gone a step further to dominate a few industries.

While the number of women in executive positions remains relatively low, our leadership competency gives us an edge to take over these industries and lead the way.

1. Health

From using websites to self-diagnose to counting the total number of steps we take each day, the health sector is a long way past where it was a couple of decades ago. A patient in rural Kenya can now ping a health worker in the middle of the night and because of advanced data collection and analysis technology, she can expect better prevention practices, smarter diagnoses and faster research and development.

Despite all the changes, two truths remain: a) Women bear the heavier burden in taking care of the family and b) we make up the majority of the front line health workforce.

A sample of 123 countries revealed that women make up 67 percent of the workforce in health and social sectors. In the U.S., 80 percent of the health workforce is comprised of women. And guess who makes up 90 percent of the registered nurses?

For some, serving in such positions as community health worker, where the training is minimal and pay meager at best, it's a calling. Others just want to get out of the home and participate in paid work. This not only equips them with skills but also earns them respect from their family. Whatever their reason, it's enough to show that without women, the health sector would crumble.

Related: To Shatter Glass Ceilings, Spread These Four Messages to Young Women

2. Education

Educational technology, or edtech, facilitates the performance and productivity of the learner while promoting ethical studying practices. It's an extremely diverse field whose effectiveness relies heavily on catering for individual needs. Anything from elearning to traditional learning and the supporting systems in-between are all part of edtech.

And women are interested.

In 2017, just 17 percent of tech startups had a female founder, according to Crunchbase. However, by some estimates, 30 percent of the founders in edtech are women.

But, this isn't new. Education has long been a female-dominated profession. Even back in the 19th century, women commonly held leadership positions in education faculties and across the school system. 

On this basis, women are likely to take up even more responsibility in edtech.

3. Recruitment

There's an overwhelming number of women in the field of human resources. According to a 2016 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 72 percent of HR managers are women. A separate report published by Payscale.com in 2017 shows a staggering 86 percent of HR generalists are women.

So, why is there such a huge gap in this area?

Related: To Win at Work, Let's Stop Competing With Men

One theory is that the field has kept a reputation of being a domain for women. Meaning, because it's traditionally known to be female-dominated, few men and more women are likely to pursue HR. But, this is one of the female-dominated fields that men are currently showing a lot of interest in.

Another explanation is that of biology and genetics. While the "women are just more nurturing" argument might seem a bit uninformed and sexist, there's enough science to show that women typically have an edge over men when it comes to EQ (emotional intelligence), an essential aspect of HR. Women typically demonstrate more advanced empathetic and interpersonal skills than men. These skills turn out to be very important in resolving conflicts, managing people and negotiating contracts.

4. Customer service

All informed advice on how to provide great customer service seems to center around a few qualities: empathy, listening skills, patience, problem solving and telephone skills.

It's not just popular opinion that women are better at stepping into other people's shoes than men. Scientific research has revealed that there's a lot of truth in that common belief. But, no conclusive evidence has been shown to explain whether it's nature or nurture.

One study concluded that women's brains signal empathy more readily than men's. The 1995 study revealed that women are more likely than men to mimic involuntarily the emotional expressions of others. This behavior is thought to reflect increased activity of "mirror neurons."

Other studies suggest that rational thought has more influence than empathy in a man's brain and vice versa.

Be it nature or, more likely, nurture, women have a record of being better at customer service than men.

So, do some industries favor a certain gender? Probably. And for women entrepreneurs, these four industries are ours for the taking.

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