Date: November 2, 1999
From: "June Fowler" <ARBMOVER@aol.com>
Subject: AMS-Forum Where are the women?
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In response to your question "Where are the women?" There are very few in upper management of the van lines and even fewer owners. I happen to be a female owner and can tell you that it is an extremely difficult road to travel. I started in this business right out of school, worked in the office, worked in sales, even went out on the truck for three years. As this was a family business, my Dad of course, always figured my brother would take the reins. When my brother didn't want it, he sold it rather than let a woman have it. I worked for the man he sold it to and when I left, 3 years later, he promptly lost the business. I was left with an empty warehouse and a large mortgage-no trucks-no pads-no pallets-no employees-not even a chair to sit on. No national van line affiliation as that was sold.
It is now 5 years later-we have a van lines-even though they are small, 9 trucks and 25 employees. Our sales last year were 1.2 Million. Not great in comparison to some of you, but I am proud we have come so far. I can tell you that it has been a struggle and it still is. The banks had to be convinced that a woman could run a moving company which is no small task, let me tell you! Brick walls abound at every level. I know from personal experience that a man has the advantage just by being a man. I think this applies in every business but particularly in the moving business.
There is still a lot to learn about running a moving company as all I was taught was how to fill out paperwork while my peers were being shown all the real ins and outs of the business by their fathers.
Don't misunderstand me, I am not bitter at all about the battle-it has been a fight and it will continue to be and I think it has been a tougher fight because I am female but no one is to blame-it's just the way it is-society has placed what it believes to be acceptable parameters and this is outside what was normally believed to be acceptable.
In closing, I can say that I will continue to do the best I can and I will continue to try to learn all I can. My "male" friends in the business have given me their complete support and I have learned so much and gained so much from all of them. One of my biggest accomplishments is that I don't feel like an outsider to them. I'm just one of the guys. Someday, more women will be owners and more women will be in the higher level positions with the van lines-the day is coming, of that I am sure. It's getting closer all the time.
It really doesn't matter if we are male or female-what matters is that we do the very best we can for our employees, our customers, our van lines and our fellow agents.
Sorry to take so long, just wanted to give you an inside look. There is no real, immediate answers to "Where are the women?" other than time and effort.
Peters Moving & Storage
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