Being a Woman in a Male Dominated Field

written by Amanda Peal

I’m a woman working in a male-dominant field. I do cell phone repair, and I feel like I have definitely gotten a new perspective on the whole industry. I have worked for several cell phone repair shops, and have always been the only woman to do repairs, except for at one shop.

I got started in the repair industry approximately seven years ago, by accident. A friend of mine did repairs at the time and needed a ride to work. When I dropped him off, his boss needed someone to answer phones because his secretary had called in sick and it was a fairly busy day. I was off work for the day, so I told him I could answer phones. It turned out that his normal secretary quit, and I was offered the position, for more money than I was making at my gas station job. After running the front end doing the office side for about a year, I began training for repairs.

I absolutely love the work, but there are a few things I have noticed are different for me as a woman. For instance, when I answer the phones, often the first question I am asked is, “Can I speak with the technician?” Most people automatically assume that I am not a technician, simply because I am a woman. More than once, I have had a customer come into the store and flat out refuse to even allow me to look at their device. I usually have to go into a full blown explanation about the fact that I have been in this industry for nearly seven years and that I have been doing the repairs myself for six. Almost always, it is older men that do this.

I often wonder how other women cope in a male dominant field. How many are treated differently by customers? And maybe more importantly, how many are treated differently by their bosses or coworkers? I’ve been pretty lucky so far, but I am sure that other women haven’t been.