In a world where gender equality is a championed ideal and girls are urged to break glass ceilings and defy stereotypes, it may be easy to assume that inequality is an archaic misfortune of the past. Since our society has transformed into one where there are no legal or institutional barriers to women’s careers, we might think that women’s opportunities and successes are unlimited.
Unfortunately, in many fields today, equality of success is still only an ideal. For example, women in America are more likely to be in poverty than men. In trade fields such as plumbing, mechanics, and electrical work, there is still a large disparity between the number of male and female workers.
Nancy Wang, a senior studying finance and public relations with a concentration in financial and investor communications in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, is passionate about narrowing the gap between genders in trade industries and supporting women in these fields. Because of her commitment to seeing women in trade fields succeed, she started Girl Power, a platform which connects female technicians with women who need their services. Girl Power not only seeks to support and give business to female technicians, but also gives women the ability to choose female technicians to help them feel safer and more comfortable.
Wang first began to notice this gender disparity growing up and observing her father’s work in construction development. She noticed how few women there were working in these fields, which motivated her to find solutions for this problem and support the women who were in these fields. She first created the idea of Girl Power during a business pitch competition in high school. Though she didn’t develop it into a product at the time, this past year she was inspired to turn her hopes of strengthening women’s success into a tangible service when she and her roommates needed to hire a technician in their apartment. She realized that while she currently lived with her roommates; if she lived alone, she would feel more comfortable hiring a female technician due to safety concerns. Her desire to provide this safety to other women combined with her passion for supporting women in trade fields inspired her to turn Girl Power into a marketable platform.
One of Wang’s main obstacles in launching Girl Power has been one of the very reasons why Girl Power’s work is critical. She’s struggled with finding numerous female technicians to partner with because the number of them is so few, which has been discouraging. In Wang’s eyes, this is a serious issue because women have the opportunity and ability to enter these fields, but traditionally do not choose trade programs due to the lack of knowledge about them. She referenced a program at her high school where students who did not want to go to a traditional college could attend a trade school program to train for skilled jobs. While the men went into plumbing and welding programs that opened the doors to well-paying jobs and stable careers, most of the women went into cosmetology, which did not pay as well as the other technical fields. “It used to be that women couldn’t do these jobs because there was a lot of heavy lifting and other barriers, but now there’s technology that makes it accessible — it’s just the stigma behind it.”
Wang hopes that by supporting women who are currently in trade fields, it will empower more women to go join the field and ensure their long-term success, despite the stigma that may be associated with it. Her experience in finding few women in technical fields has fueled her passion for making sure these fields are accessible to all and contributing to the careers of female technicians.
“It makes the cause more important to me. If I can support the few female technicians there are, I can create a sense of community around the subject and empower women to want to do it—then I will feel like I’m making a difference around that field.”
Story by Blackstone LaunchPad Global Media Fellow Claire Howard Photo supplied