Although women now have a stronger presence in the workplace than at any other point in history, there are still many male dominated career paths and industries. There are several reasons that contribute to this state of affairs including, but not limited to, unconscious bias, physical requirements, lack of role models, and reduced opportunities. However, there are always trailblazing women who refuse to accept the status quo and instead claim their place in these male dominated arenas, opening a path so that other women can follow in their footsteps.
In a world that is increasingly concerned with bridging the gender wage gap, getting more women into management roles, and promoting women in STEM and other traditionally male fields, it is heartening to see real women making real progress. Read on for a list of some of these trailblazing women who have excelled in a man’s world, opening a door for the rest of us.
Despite the fact that the world of fantasy fiction, by its very nature, pushes boundaries, smashes stereotypes and breaches new frontiers, for most of its history it has been seen as a man’s world. Some of the most famous and well received fantasy writers – J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, Terry Pratchett, C.S. Lewis – are men and the recognized fantasy geek is often an awkward young boy or a bearded older man.
However, in the wake of The Lord of the Rings and Narnia came a new fantasy author – Ursula K. Le Guin. Her series of fantasy novels, collectively referred to as The Books of Earthsea, involves wizards, dragons, magic and all the other trappings of a typical fantasy novel. It is an accomplished and literary body of work yet, whilst retaining cult status amongst dedicated fans, has never reached the same heights as the aforementioned male-authored fantasy series. Despite this, Le Guin was a certified innovator in the field and is slowly starting to garner more of the recognition she rightfully deserves, attracting readers of every gender.
Gaming & Esports
The relatively new field of Esports presents no barrier to women except for those of maintaining sustained interest in the field (on the prospective gamers’ part), and prejudice on the part of fellow gamers and team managers. There is no good reason why women can’t get involved in this emerging industry, and one woman who has hit the scene with a bang is Sasha Hostyn. Known by her professional alias of Scarlett, she is the highest earning female esports player in the world. Although she is currently nowhere near the heady heights of even the top 300 male players, she is carving out a niche for female players everywhere.
As interest in online gaming and esports has grown, specified occupations in these fields have sprung up alongside increased access to resources. Platforms like pokerstarscasino and steam offer access to the games themselves for anyone to play, as well as live streams, player interaction, stats and other information. This online sporting revolution should be as open to women as it is to men but, unfortunately, there is some obstruction in the shape of bad attitude and old-fashioned prejudice. With players like Scarlett, Liooon (Xiao Meng Li) and HaganeNoTema (Siobhan Bielamowicz) on the scene though, things are looking up.
Since the dawn of motorcars, men’s involvement has overshadowed that of women when racing, driving or travelling competitively or casually. Typically, it is accepted that men enjoy cars whilst women don’t. This is simply not true. Although there is still a fight to be had over women’s inclusion with motor vehicles on a professional level, there are many female drivers out there today, making a living and smashing stereotypes at the same time.
One such driver is Christina Nielsen. At only 28 years old, she represents an up and coming set of women racing drivers who are determined to make their mark on the sport. Daughter of Danish racing driver Lars-Erik Nielsen, she is well positioned to make waves during her career on the track and indeed already has done, winning the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2016 and 2017. She has also taken part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race three times, placing in the top 40 drivers twice.
There are also an increasing number of women getting involved with long distance driving, particularly of trucks. This profession has, once again, traditionally been dominated by men but more and more women are turning to this way of making a living. In the UK just 1% of truck drivers are women, and in the USA it’s 8%. But, the number is growing as women realise the benefits to this roaming way of life.
These are just some of the career paths that women are beginning to make headway in but there are so many other amazing female pioneers out there, gradually transforming the man’s world that we’ve all lived in for so long. Why not investigate the women working in your favourite field? You may be surprised by the amount of inspiration and encouragement you find.