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What Can Security Companies Do to Address the Gender Gap?

There is no question that the United States labor market continues to be deeply segregated among gender lines. The major push for gender diversity in the American workplace unfolded over the 1970s and 1980s, and for some reason stalled sometime after the first Persian Gulf War, just at the beginning of the internet revolution.

According to a 2010 position paper published by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the gender gap in the American workforce has been addressed in a manner that has created gender segregation in the job marketplace. This means the increased participation of women in the workplace has resulted in some occupations being lopsidedly male or female. Case in point: secretaries, better known these days as administrative assistants, are overwhelmingly female. The same can be said of social workers and registered nurses. On the other hand, the security guard occupation is predominantly male by as much as 25 percent.

The Extent of the Gender Gap in the Security Field

What is interesting about the field of security is that the gender gap seems to prevail across most professional subsets. It is not only within private security that the gender gap is noticeable. The same goes for civil security such as police officers, and national security or soldiers.

Even cyber security is a lopsided field in terms of gender. In fact, the Women in Cybersecurity Conference 2017, sponsored by Tennessee Tech University, focused specifically on why 75 percent of information security specialists are men.

Why the Gap Occurs

Old habits die hard across many industries, and private security is no exception. The old image of the Pinkerton detective or the Wells Fargo men providing cargo security has been difficult to shake and has sometimes created an unconscious bias.

Stereotyping is another reason why the gender gap prevails in the private security industry. Society at large is substantially to blame for creating the stereotype of women being relegated to the role of homemakers, nurses, caregivers, waitresses, and stewardesses.

Addressing the Gap

The first step in fighting the gap is acknowledging that it exists on a subconscious and stereotypical level. This means recruiters and human resources managers should promote awareness of the bias for the purpose of not falling into it.

Another factor to consider is that women still have considerable household duties and responsibilities that are not expected to go away until society accepts the need for measures such as paternity leave. What this means for security companies doing the hiring is that they should implement some degree of flexible scheduling for security guards in San Jose.

Security agencies in San Jose and the rest of the U.S. should also take a look at how other countries address gender gap issues. In the Kingdom of the Netherlands, for example, male and female police officers are often paired up during foot patrols. In Costa Rica, unarmed female police officers are assigned to guard civil demonstrations because they are skilled negotiators who can peacefully handle protesters instead of automatically using riot control teams, which tends to agitate crowds.

At ADS Guards, we believe women and men are equally capable of providing the security services people need. We are a leading provider of residential and commercial security in San Jose, and we also offer trained guards for corporate events. Call 1-800-794-1550 today to learn more.