Breaking News
More () »

Crunch The Cost: How women are emerging in male-dominated industries

Suzanne Stevenson, the owner of Penelope's Painting & Drywall service, shared her journey of what it was like working in a male-dominated field for over 20 years.

BRYAN, Texas — With March marking the start of National Women's Month, KAGS is highlighting how women are making more of an impact in our world today.

In fact, women have slowly began to take over more male-dominated fields like construction, electricity, and even in sub areas like drywall installations.

The Lone Star state has been rapidly growing, with the number of women in these fields increasing as well. In fact, construction has contributed $93 billion to the state, about 4% of the state's GDP.

Furthermore, women make up 19% of Texas' 726,000 jobs in the industry.

"We have seen a lot of different industries trying to increase the female representation there, and really just trying to promote that this industry is not the male dominated industry that it used to be," said Caroline Jones, a PR Associate for Today's Homeowner.

Recently, a new study ranked Texas as 30th for highest percentage of female construction trade workers. One woman, Suzanne Stevenson, is making her mark in the Bryan-College Station area as a woman in a male-dominated industry that is slowly but surely bolstering its female workforce.

"Girl we've been taking over the world forever," said Stevenson.

She created her own painting and drywall installation business, Penelope's Painting & Drywall service. In fact, Stevenson got her first taste of male-dominated fields by accident at just 16 years old, and from then on, she had to endure what that was like for a woman in a space where your coworkers are predominantly of the opposite gender.

"Not everyone wants you to think you belong there, and being a young lady that was kind of difficult. You get a little harassment," said Stevenson.

She simply got tired of men telling her what jobs she couldn't do. On top of not being a newcomer to the Bryan-College Station area, it made more difficult to find work in the industry itself.

"Mostly a lot of people just said 'yeah, you're just gonna cause too much of a distraction, so yea we can't let you work here,'" said Stevenson. "A lot of people will say 'oh so was your dad a painter, did you buy this company from someone?' No, none of those things."

It's something many men can't believe is the case for many women, according to Stevenson. The fact that women can create their own things without the help of a man is something that is a foreign concept to some.

After no luck, she found work in a small bar and got inspired to create her own space, which later became Penelope's Painting & Drywall service. It wasn't filled with just men when she began, and still isn't 24 years later. 

Now, she been in business in the BCS area for over two decades.

"They feel like women don't belong there, literally told me [women] should be at home making cookies," said Stevenson. "We're just here to make money and pay bills like the men."

Stevenson also discovered that, oddly enough, more women actually like having a boss of the same gender. Is it a sign of where gender standards are headed in the workplace? Only time will tell.

Follow KAGS on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Before You Leave, Check This Out