You’re seated comfortably, a stewardess is handing you peanut bags as a clearing-up speaker announces, “This is Captain Rola Hoteit and I’ll be your pilot for this evening.”
You’re safely back home from your trip, driving yourself to work when you get the memo regarding your surgery next week. Surprised, you check again only to find that indeed a woman is your surgeon. The shocking news makes you lose control of your car. You bump into the sidewalk. “Here we go, another salary spent repairing my car,” you sigh.
The traffic is a killer, but you manage to arrive and reserve a spot at the mechanic’s. A cluster of men are arguing in a circle, “The prices are too high” one yells. This is when she bursts out of the closed gathering, wiping her greasy hands with an even greasier cloth. “How can I help you?” she asks.
This is it to you. This is a woman’s world and you can't do nothing about it.
Well, not quite yet. But wouldn't it be great if women were given their chances in predominately male dominated industries? Here's one shining example.
Meet Christelle Yared, a woman thriving in a male dominated industry
Christelle Yared established a company specialized in car armoring back in 2009. She’s not what one would stereotypically think of when imagining a woman who loves cars as Yared is neither "tomboyish" nor does she have bitten nails; quite the opposite actually.
It just happens that she’s found her passion in this particular field and chose to pursue it no matter the consequences.
Her chosen career path wasn't without its challenges; a woman wanting to armor vehicles isn’t exactly the stuff society usually approves of.
“Lebanon is [one of] the most liberal and open countries in the Middle East, yet you find yourself fighting gender stereotypes on a daily basis,” Yared remarks.
“As much as society shows women support, it’s still lacking in trust, motivation, and encouragement towards young [female entrepreneurs]. We wish to develop their skills, strive for a better future, and do what makes them happy without having to please our patriarchal society”.
Unlike her male counterparts, a woman working in a traditionally male environment is usually granted limited access and copes with undermining comments and dubious ethics.
However, for Yared, her success is indicative of her strength, business acumen, and ability to adjust to any situation.
While it may be difficult, nothing is impossible
Gaining her male clienteles' trust wasn’t easy at first.
“They were reluctant to entrust a woman with their lives," she explains.
“It was always crucial for them to ask for a man’s opinion after I’d have answered their questions. But with time, I managed to convince them, thanks to my professionalism, pragmatic approach to their needs, and especially my sharp eye for details, as well as the quality of work I provide,“ Yared continues.
Not just a woman's fight
The World Economic Forum estimates that at the current pace of evolution, gender equality will be achieved in 2186. This feels like quite a long way to go. For change to happen, we must all take responsibility at the home, school, workplace, and institution.
It’s not only up to women to fight for the right to fulfill their dreams. It should also be a fight for every father, brother, partner, friend, coworker, and manager.