Back in the ‘70s, one of the tobacco companies used that tagline in a cigarette commercial (before FCC regulations prohibited them) to showcase how far the women’s movement had come at the time.
Looking back on it, it’s laughable to think how sexist that sounds, while the intent was just the opposite.
While the women’s movement as a whole may have made great strides in the ‘70s, women in the carwash industry didn’t follow suit. That is, until now. And while the number of women in carwashing today may still seem small, it is light-years ahead of where it was a decade ago and growing fast!
As the manager of CarWash College, I am fortunate in that I get to meet a lot of newbies to the industry. In the last five years, the percentage of female students has risen dramatically.
In a recent class out West, five out of 20 students were women. In a class here on the East Coast recently, seven out of 20 were women. This is now becoming the rule more than the exception. Not impressed? As recently as three years ago, we had three or more women in the same class twice. Follow the trend.
It isn’t just at the store level either. Women occupy some of the highest profile positions in the industry. How high? The highest. Owners and general managers of manufacturing companies, vice presidents of operations for large chains, vice presidents of sales and marketing for manufacturers, and the list goes on. In fact, I saw a stat in one of the carwash publications that estimates the percentage of women in positions of power within the industry at 20 percent. Still a small minority, but growing rapidly.
Last year, the International Carwash Association held a “Women’s Leadership Experience,” and I see this year Convenience and Car Wash Canada magazine (woman-owned, by the way) is hosting its first ever “Women in Carwash” conference. If the amount of women in carwashing wasn’t growing at a brisk pace, I doubt you’d see one conference, let alone two.
Women currently make up about 55 percent of all carwash customers; hence, it only makes sense to have women in decision-making capacities in carwash companies.
Women really have come a long in our industry and, I feel, it’s only the beginning.
Bob Fox has 35 years’ experience in the carwash industry and is the vice president of Sonny’s Car Wash College™. Bob can be reached at [email protected]. For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit CarWash College or call the registrar’s office at 1-866-492-7422.
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