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10 Fields Where the Glass Ceiling Isn't Even Cracked


6
Pest Control
Although it is rare to see a woman working in pest control in the U.S., it's more  common in developing countries. Here, a South African woman sprays insecticide over cabbage seedlings. Emil von Maltitz/Getty Images
Although it is rare to see a woman working in pest control in the U.S., it's more common in developing countries. Here, a South African woman sprays insecticide over cabbage seedlings. Emil von Maltitz/Getty Images

Sure, a lot of women and girls are squeamish about bugs. But that's not the reason why the pest control industry is dominated by men. According to the BLS, in 2014 a mere 3.7 percent of the nation's 80,000 pest control workers were men, making it one of America's top male-dominated careers.

Experts can't point a finger at one particular reason for the gender disparity in pest control. It might be because the job can be physical; workers often tote backpack sprayers that can weigh 30 pounds (13 kilograms) or so, and move furniture to check for insects or rodents [source: Ruelas]. Some women worry about exposure to chemicals during their child-bearing years. And while groups like Professional Women in Pest Management exist to encourage and support women in this career, many companies aren't actively wooing women. But they should be.

A large part of the job of an exterminator is to soothe distressed homeowners, and women are known for their empathic qualities. The job typically is quite flexible, too, a plus for women with kids. And it's not difficult to work around issues like heavy sprayers, for example. The sprayers can be put in carts rather than toted on the back, or partially filled to lighten the load, then refilled as needed [source: Ruelas].


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