women in waste management
Women in Business

Challenges Women in Waste Management Face

There are many challenges women will face in the waste management industry.

Unfortunately, women in many fields face greater challenges than men, especially in industrial work. Learn how waste management affects women.

While women have worked hard to prove their capabilities in many business fields, they still often face more challenges than men. We see this most often in industrial areas, such as waste management. There are some specific challenges women in waste management face that their male counterparts don’t. Keep reading to learn more about these challenges and the solutions.

Thicker Glass Ceiling

Theoretically, everyone is on the same playing field when applying for and working in a specific job. Application and job acceptance should depend on experience and performance. Unfortunately, many fields, especially industrial ones such as waste management, still have a thick glass ceiling.

When researching about the role of women in waste management, you are more likely to find articles about women managing waste inside of a home than at a waste management company. Many waste management companies depict men doing most of the work and have mostly or totally male leadership. This reinforced this glass ceiling instead of helping break it down.

Increased Health Risks

Working with waste often puts workers in contact with non-hazardous and hazardous materials. There are four main characteristics of hazardous waste that can affect any worker that comes into contact with it. However, women face more health risks than men. Women play a more prominent role in human reproduction since they carry the fetus while it develops. If a pregnant woman working in waste management comes into contact with hazardous waste, it can negatively affect her health and the health of the fetus.

This increased risk may explain the tendency towards the thick glass ceiling at many waste management companies. However, pregnancy and gender discrimination are illegal. Therefore, companies cannot prevent you from holding a job if you’re a woman who is or may become pregnant.

Solutions and Hope

Examining the proverbial thick glass ceiling and considering the dangers of waste management is necessary if you’re a businesswoman seeking a career in waste management. However, there are solutions to these problems and hope for the future. 

The waste management industry is recognizing the gender disparity, and many companies are seeking to correct it. In some ways, the traditional gender roles of women caring for household waste can work to a woman’s advantage as she joins this industry.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is also more readily available now than ever. Wearing the proper PPE protects all workers, including pregnant female workers, which decreases the disproportionate health risks women face.

Some of the challenges that women in waste management face are company stereotype and extra health concerns. However, industry initiatives and better protective technology are helping businesswomen smash the glass ceiling and move forward in the waste management industry. If you’re considering doing finance for a waste management company or exploring a more hands-on role in waste management, you can do so with confidence and pave the way for more women to do so in the future.

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