On the integration side, I think there is a very clear reason why less woman are drawn into physical security.
Security integration has historically been a light construction field. Especially at the entry level, it does not pay well, does not demand much education, and requires a fair amount of physical labor. This does not appeal well to women generally.
I think that's part of it but certainly not all. Because it's so heavily male, (some) companies can become more like boy's clubs which makes it even less attractive to most women.
I'm one of those politically incorrect weirdoes who believe that there are fewer women in STEM fields because they're naturally less interested.
I am, I guess, un-American. Because I don’t believe just anybody can be anything they want to be if they just “try hard enough” and make a real good go of it. In people, certain personalities and capabilities emerge and those personalities and capabilities tend to be clustered within certain populations. They can be cultured somewhat, but are also very natural. And while outliers will exist of all kinds, the majorities will need to find their callings.
Yes, the male dominated field, by definition, presents barriers to women. Once certain cultural norms are established they become more difficult to penetrate. Those actual barriers should be removed to allow those women who would like access to the field to have access. But removing those barriers will not result in 50% women in a particular STEM field. Thus I don't buy into the arguments that present a very low participation rate among women in a particular field, and then imply that that low rate is evidence that men are presenting barriers to participation. Rather we're going to have to understand the actual barriers in order to remove them.
I’m for diversity hiring initiatives. Trust me, I’ve been desperate for good, qualified candidates, in every position I’ve hired for. I want to let women know I want to give them a fair consideration, and will provide a comfortable, accepting work environment. I need talent, be it male or female.
I have seen a lot of resumes and done a lot of interviews in my day. I've turned down many many more men than women. But I've also turned away most of the women. That is, I turn away more applicants than I receive--both men and women. The main thing I look for is passion and interest in technology and that is rare among the entire population. I know the resume of a guy (or gal) who’s gone through some job training just so they can check off “java” on their resume vs a person who just couldn’t help but play with computers from an early age. Not all males think technology is fun/cool/interesting, and even fewer women do.
I have worked with (and in fact personally hired) some truly great women in technology so I know better than to imply that all women are not capable or interested. However, the percentages of those passionate enough about STEM to make it a career are way lower than those who feel women should be 50% of the work force in a particular field would like to believe.
Seneca | IPVMU Certified | 10/28/15 02:29pm
On the lighter side..we need to buy the younger girls better shirts like this one...
Seneca | IPVMU Certified | 10/28/15 03:21pm
John... How many IPVM members are female?
I would guess less than 1% of IPVM members are women. Based on the discussion board maybe even less.
I think there is a bit of a negative feedback loop in regards to women in fields like security.
Generally speaking, the majority of the tasks and ideas associated with "Security Industry" (system design, installation, service, etc.) are things that tend to be more male-associated than female-associated.
If we were to assume a somewhat natural distribution of personalities/genders in security you might see a "best case" split where it's 80% male and 20% female (or a similar majority-male distribution).
The majority-male distribution causes the overall "personality" of the industry to skew heavily male (eg: booth babes). This causes some number of the 20% of females who might otherwise pursue a career in security to look elsewhere because they don't want to get into such a testosterone-laden field.
I think the male-ness of the security industry creates a barrier of sorts to women in the industry, but even if every single male in the industry was a perfect gentleman and did everything they could to make it welcoming for female employees we'd still never see even a 60/40 ratio of males/females in the industry because it's just not the sort of thing that the "average" female would have much reason to pursue.
The above is also affected by the existence of jobs like "wedding planner", where the task is something that tends to be more of a "female personality" type, and tends to have negative connotations for a male. A female considering a career path is not just deciding "is the security industry appropriate for me", but is also deciding "is the security industry the most lucrative option for me". IMO females who may be very well suited to a number of jobs in the security industry can probably do better elsewhere and so are drawn to other options for those reasons as well.
Undisclosed 1, it’s entirely possible that women are less interested in physical security than men are, or in less interested in any tech-based industry, for that matter. But that is an effect and not a cause.
From a very young age, girls are steered away from interest in math and science, while boys are encouraged in these same areas. This gender bias can start with parents; then teachers and toymakers contribute to this trend, putting male students and female students into separate, gender-based boxes. This starts at birth and goes all the way through college, where any women who have steadfastly clung to their interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) then have to deal with sexist bias from their college professors. These issues have a lot less to do with what men and women are naturally interested in and more with what our society tells them they are supposed to be interested in. If a woman has been picking up subliminal and not-so-subliminal cues her whole life that tell her she isn’t suited for a career in STEM, it’s not very likely that she will wind up in a STEM-based field like physical security.
Earlier this year I had the privilege of working with a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to providing STEM learning opportunities for middle school students in low-income communities. A team of volunteers from my company taught a class on engineering design. At the start of the semester, there were 15 boys in the class and 10 girls. At first the girls were reserved and didn’t participate as much in classroom discussion. Luckily the lesson plan included a lot of hands-on activities, so all the kids had the chance to work together and build things. The girls were encouraged as much as the boys were. By the end of the ten-week class, the girls were outshining the boys. They were engaged and energized because they had been provided a safe environment, free of judgment, to explore new interests. I can’t think of a more powerful example of female desire and capacity to embrace technology than that.
When you ask, Undisclosed 1, if I know of women who are eager to get into physical security but “back off because they feel they will be discriminated against,” I have to assert that they have backed off long before they are faced with making a career choice.
I am an employee of Hikvision. The views expressed on this post are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of Hikvision.
After reading all the replies here, a thought has come to mind.
Water is wet.
Grass is green.
Women and men are different from each other.
There's my non-Pc, free-form haiku.
We should move on to something less controversial after this topic, like illegal immigration, gun control, or abortion.
I see more and more women doing these types of low-voltage jobs. I personally think that the more women that are seen in this particular field will open the eyes of other women's interest to it. Right now, I think it's a job that women may not consider because it's been a male dominated type job.
I am not sure my role as a Senior Systems Engineer in my company qualifies as a high-ranking position, but I believe my reputation in the physical security industry is respected, admired, and quite frankly envied. I love what I do, couldn't think of doing anything else. I can be an army of one - sell, survey, design, install, configure, train, document, and support everything from the data center, cable plant, networking, all the way to the cameras, doors, and LPRs. I know I am not the norm, I've never run into another woman who does what I do, and have only come across a few in sales. My backpack is stuffed with cables, adapters, a laptop and a tablet; my trunk is loaded with tools. I never let my gender be a factor in any aspect of my career - it never stopped me and I never used it to exploit a situation.
To answer the questions raised in the original question: (a) interest: since Physical Security is not a skill or discipline unto itself, but rather a conglomeration of all things IT, many women (and men for that matter) are not exposed to it early enough in their college years and initial professional years. I would guess many get into it as a result of someone they know or as a by-product of other work at their place of employment - IT areas already male-dominated; (b) compensation: I believe I am compesated well, probably deserve more. Sales offers greater opportunities and commissions and maybe those factors are more attractive to women as they foster competition. Just speculating, don't know - never asked any.
Just my 2 cents ...
As a woman in the Physical Security industry, I am always looking for ways to repurpose the parts I encounter every day. Here you can see how I've turned a damaged PTZ dome into a fashion accessory - a hard hat. Perfect size for my big head.
I'm female (an engineer by degree) and love that I can be anon here to say what I really think.
Absolutely, there are fewer women are in this industry. You can see it at tradeshows and events.
First, this is not a STEM industry. That doesn't mean their are not experts, or smart people, of course their are. But you don't need an engineering or science degree to be a player.
- It's lower paying than other tech industries. The cost per sale is simply too low to justify the higher salaries. And again, since you don't need an engineering degree, the salaries are lower.
-I've seen more gender discrimination. And I've been in STEM industries and worked with primarily male dominated firms. This is different, or maybe it's the geographic region of the companies I work with though. (of course not everyone is that way, but way more than I'm used to)
I think a lot of the gender discrimination is also customer driven, not just the security industry. I do a lot of work in public safety, seaports, and public transportation. All of these groups act quite appropriately. I've also worked with petrochemical. If you're in the oil and gas space, hide your daughters, hide your wives, it's caveman time.
Why do you add your disclaimer to each and every post you make? I ask because nobody else does this on this site - including other Hikvision employees.
Plus, while I will not speak for others, personally I find it annoying - as if you are simply trying to interject the name of your company as many times as possible into each thread that you post on. You are in marketing after all. :)
You can do as you please, but perhaps something like the below would suffice on the first post you make on each string:
"I am an employee of Hikvision. The views expressed on this post (and any which follow in this string) are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of Hikvision."
I've had a few women ask me about my job while I'm working, and show some interest, but when I start talking about how "No, there isn't really any schooling, just kind of learn as you go." that seems to make their interest drop.
Or as they watch me struggle to fish a line, or troubleshoot a problem with a camera 14 feet in the air while I work alone, having to run back and forth from camera location to location x. Or having a million people make me stop my work to walk through that door strike/mag lock I'm working on, causing the work to take three times longer.
I can't say I blame them when they lose interest when I mention there is no real schooling. It means on paper it's difficult to prove your abilities. No 'degree' to go along with my hard work. While I was raised to believe I don't need a piece of paper to tell some one I know how to do my job, that does seem to be the norm in many other lines of work. And at times it has made me wonder what's going to happen when I do finally get sick enough of the security business to look elsewhere.
How many of my skills will transfer? How many potential employers in another line of work are going to understand what I've done? But I suppose that's a topic for another thread.
Demand for male elementary teachers remains unanswered
Found this interesting, maybe you will too.
Are men discriminated against here?
Are men not interested?
Is this like the Security Industry in reverse or not?