Women Crushing it in Male Dominated Industries

Are women finally making tracks in careers that are considered ‘male-dominated’? Are we finally seeing cracks in that metaphorical glass ceiling? While numbers show that women are still earning less than their male counterparts and they are far from proportionally represented in these careers, we are starting to see some changes in the business world overall.

Let’s see where women are making their mark and sometimes even crushing it in male dominated industries:



The field of technology was always considered a ‘guy-thing’ because those who were part of it had to have an analytical mind and knack for computers. Thankfully, over the years, women have proven aptitude in the world of technology. No longer are female students encouraged automatically to take the human sciences route or assigned to domestic science class while their male contemporaries learn computer science. Instead, they are finding their way in every aspect of the industry and working hard to influence its direction.

Take as an example Safra Catz, who served for a long time as president of the software giant, Oracle, before becoming the group’s CFO.  Or how about Susan Wojcicki, senior VP at Google who is the face behind the group’s ad products such as AdWords and AdSense. She was responsible for 96% of the group’s $37.9 billion revenue in 2011!



From the time when poker players would gather around poker tables in smoky saloons, gambling was clearly considered a male pastime. But somewhere down the line – especially with the onset of online gambling in the 1990s – operators understood that a significant portion of their customers was made up of the fairer sex.  Today, women are represented across the industry, both as players and as executives.

Many look to Denise Coates as a classic example of a woman who has clearly made it in the gambling industry. With a real time net worth of $8.6 billion, according to Forbes, she is by far the highest paid CEO in the iGaming industry. Coates is co-CEO of Bet365, one of the world’s largest online gambling companies. In 2000, she bought the domain and launched the website a year later. The privately owned company facilitates bets of over $65 billion each year!



For hundreds of years, the only people who communicated news and opinions were men, and very few women made their mark in these areas. Thankfully, that has changed remarkably, and more women than ever serve as heads of companies, world-class TV presenters and award-winning journalists.

Two women, who have forged the way for others to follow them in the communications industry, come to mind. Arianna Huffington is the co-founder of the Huffington Post and oversaw its sale to AOL in 2011. The Huffington Post has won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting and Arianna is now focused on expanding the brand to several European countries.

It’s also fascinating to follow the career of Laura Lang who was formerly head of Digitas before become Chief Executive Officer of Time Inc.


Automobile Industry

Say the word ‘cars ‘and the immediate association is Henry Ford and his contribution to the automobile industry. But, in recent years, more and more women are getting their hands dirty in an industry which is typically considered loud, greasy and male-dominated.

The most powerful female representative of the automobile industry is Mary Barra, the senior vice president of Global Product Development at General Motors.  The group, which is has its headquarters in Detroit, MI, employs 180,000 people and serves six continents.  Barra herself oversees 36,000 people and lead the design, engineering and quality of General Motors’ 11 global brands (including Buick, Cadillac, GMC and Chevrolet).



Remember those days when the only insurance people were men going door-to-door trying to sell you policies? Today the industry is truly massive, and continues to grow in every direction. Women are at the forefront of this industry at every level, from call-center workers to the biggest executives.

Angela Braly ran the second largest health insurer in the world. She was at the helm of WellPoint (now Anthem) since 2007 and oversaw the acquisition of rival insurer, Amerigroup for $4.9 billion. She was instrumental in acquiring 1-800 Contacts (corrective lens retailer) for over $900 million.

Other women of influence in the insurance industry worth noting include Sharon Brown, the chief sales officer of Miles Smith Insurance, Lindsey Howsam, the Operations Director of Staysure and Cecile Fresneau, the executive director of the UK insurance, QBE.


Let’s Crack that Ceiling

Women continue to break stereotypes and prove that they are equal to their male counterparts in many industries. Improved education opportunities open doors to these industries and women are being encouraged to forge ahead and become whatever they dream to be. As more and more women take their place at the head of major corporations and industries, they will continue to influence young girls and other women to follow in their footsteps.