Back in the 70’s, 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 70’s, women in the car wash industry didn’t follow suit. That is, until now. And while the number of women in car washing 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 GMs of manufacturing companies, VPs of Operations for large chains, VPs of Sales and Marketing for manufacturers, and the list goes on. In fact, I saw a stat in one of the car wash publications which estimates the percentage of women in positions of power within the industry at 20%. Still a small minority, but growing rapidly.
Last year, the ICA held a “Women’s Leadership Experience” and I see this year Convenience and Car Wash Canada Magazine (woman owned, btw) is hosting their 1st ever “Women in Car Washing” conference. If the amount of women in car washing wasn’t growing at a brisk pace, I doubt you’d see one conference, let alone two.
Women currently make up about 55% of all car wash customers hence; it only makes sense to have women in decision making capacities in car wash companies.
Women really have come a long in our industry and, I feel, it’s only the beginning.
Bob Fox has over 30 years of industry experience and is the lead instructor and the manager at CarWash College™. Bob can be reached at BFox@sonnysdirect.com. For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit www.SonnysDirect.com or call the registrar’s office at 1-800-327-8723.