Breaking Barriers

Remarkable women are known to shatter glass ceilings and break down every door.

Ever since Rosie the Riveter became a cultural icon for working women everywhere, it has been a consistent march towards equality.

Despite the fact that women earn less money on the dollar than men, women are continually changing the workforce on a monumental level.

Traditionally male-dominated industries are being shaken to the core every day.

According to Shelley Langan, the Director of a tree maintenance company in Australia, working in a male-dominated industry has been interesting and challenging at the same time.

I started this company 17 years ago with my then husband,Shelley says.

We divorced and I ended up with the business.” The only qualifications I had were secretarial. It was a choice of either sink or swim, and I chose to swim.

Langan said people had a definite first impression when they heard she was in the industry.

Peoples first impression for me was to put on a mini skirt and show some cleavage and I will get the quotes, and would get the job, she says in an interview with HER magazine.

I chose to throw on some knee-length shorts minus the cleavage and bring back good old-fashioned customer service. I had never quoted a tree removal or prune before, so I had a lot to learn.

Like many other women who run their own business, Langan found her competitors to be huge challenge.

They wanted me gone and didnt care how they got rid of me,she said. I had one company constantly call me wanting to buy my equipment so I would be out of the industry.”

“In the end they were the ones who kept me going. I thought if they were that desperate to get rid of me, they were going to have to work harder than that. They eventually gave up.

Langan says there are mixed reactions when she answers the phone at her office. After all, she is a woman in a male-dominated industry.

Read the full article inside HER Magazine. Access March’s issue by downloading our magazine in iTunes or Google Play.

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