There are so many ways that 317Grow stands out from other landscaping companies. One of those ways is in how women are involved at every level of our company. One of our owners is a woman, 50% of our office staff are women, and we consistently have women working full time in the field. It is rare to find that kind of setup in landscaping. So naturally, as the national conversation has turned to issues of sexual harassment and assault, the conversation has continued in the office. Instead of us women taking the stand to talk about our own experiences, we have asked some of the men in our office to write about what they have noticed and what it's like for them to work with strong women.
Working with Women
From my experience, people that have never worked for a woman can approach the situation with a clouded view. They are expecting interactions and decisions to be based on emotion, rather than rationality. What I have learned is that working with, and even for a woman, can bring the best out of any employee. Women are often overlooked by men when it comes to leadership roles. In most cases, they have to work harder to achieve upper management positions. I believe that because of this, women apply more creativity, devotion, and imagination to the way they approach a career. This pushes the co-worker or employee to apply the same work ethic and strive for the best.
To all women in the landscape industry:
While it is my intention in every other interaction I share with you to treat you as my peer, let me deviate from that to say that you and I are in fact unequal. Sure, we are in the same industry, studio, office and may even a similar job titles, but does that make us equal? I did not, for example, grow up in a world that discouraged me from picking up a shovel and playing in the dirt. Nor did I live in a society that told me not to get my hands dirty, or said I was being too bossy for exhibiting leadership skills. In grade school I never had the fear of being rejected by my peers because of my interests. I was not bombarded by images and slogans telling me that my worth was in how I looked, and that I should abstain from certain activates and careers because I might be thought of as too masculine. I have had no difficulty whatsoever with the boys' club mentality in our industry, and I will not face added scrutiny, cat-calling, remarks and nicknames from my being the minority in the group. When I experience success, the assumption of others will be that I earned it. So, you and I cannot be equal. You have already conquered far more to be in this field than I will ever face.
Anonymous Team Member
Working with women in the landscape industry.
With all the sexual assaults we are seeing in the news these days, I never really noticed what women had to deal with on a day to day basis. I work with 8 women currently and have always viewed them as co-workers, and would never consider viewing them in any other manner. Some of the ladies work in the office, while others are in the field every day. Whether it's in the field or the office, women will at some point will experience some type of sexual harassment.
I have worked with all the ladies and at one point in time or another they have had to fend off sexual harassment. There are all types of harassment ranging from an extreme case to something someone didn’t even think was harassment, in all cases they are equally as serious. With sexual harassment on the rise, I start to notice just how bad it is for all women and not just the ones I work with. I can say that I will not tolerate watching a woman be sexually harassed, and I will stand up and speak my mind.
I could not imagine what it would be like to be so conscious of everything that I do to avoid the unwanted attention. Something so simple as putting on makeup could result in an unwanted conversation or unwanted sexual comments. Take that and think about how your clothes, hair, body language, or even just being friendly could send out the wrong message. As a male I could never imagine that type of unwanted attention in everyday life or in the workplace.
I commend the women that I work with that face this type of harassment in their everyday life and find a way to push through. Not just the women that I work with, but all women and men that continue to fight sexual harassment. It pains me to know that the owner of the company I work for could show up at a job site to talk business and is met with unwanted comments and/or gestures. I have been working with one of the ladies out in the field near a busy road and people would whistle or honk their horn while making comments.
I am against all forms of sexual harassment as I have said before. These ladies that I work with are like family to me, we all have gone through a lot working together. I don’t want the news today to portray some image that all guys are like this. I see these women putting as much blood sweat and tears into their work as I do, I have nothing but respect for them. I will always stand up against or by their side to continue to fight sexual harassment. All the guys here have nothing but respect for the ladies here and none of us will allow a fellow co-worker to face sexual harassment and not be heard.
We need all men to do their part.
I have always worked in industries where the majority of people are men. Over the years I have heard other men talk down about women, say sexual comments about women, and just be nasty toward them. I have had the privilege of being raised by a strong woman that owns her own business. My mother and father always taught me to respect women, treat them as equals, open doors, etc. I think that way of thinking is fading, and kids today are not being taught it today. I have also had the privilege of working side by side with women, and let me tell you, they are stronger and more knowledgeable than some men.
It really bothers me when I hear about any woman being harassed because of the upbringing I have had. I try and stick up for women as much as I can, but we need all men to do their part. It only takes one bad remark from a man to make the rest of us good guys look bad.
The Future of the Landscape Industry
As I look into the future of our industry, I see an industry that has been pegged as a male’s domain changing to a powerful growing force. The numbers are certainly on our side. But, clearly women profoundly affect every part of the industry.
At 317Grow our culture to promote equality, growth and partnership is talked about, trained for, and a part of who we are. What does this look like? You can find 7 strong women that play a significant role in the success of our company, which is a lot for a company of our size. From production to owner, these women are respected throughout the company and are viewed as equals.
I began my career in the landscape industry almost 20 years ago. It was uncommon to have women as part of the team. Fast forward to now, my business partner and the 6 other women in our company are some of the strongest individuals I have ever been around. They are successful, independent, and they are the reason 317Grow is such a wonderful place to work. We are in an ever-changing world of discrimination, but the reality of today’s business landscape is this. Being a woman in business, surrounded by male counterparts is perhaps not the message. The message is clear and has been proven: women are here to stay, and I along with everyone at 317Grow love seeing the growth from every one of them.