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Women Speak Out: ‘Forge Ahead, Press On, Become Leaders’

Posted May 16, 2019 at 7:58 pm

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TRSA’s Women in Textile Services Committee recently conducted a survey of women in the linen, uniform and facility services industry and received responses from more than 100 female industry professionals who identified a range of concerns, goals and interests affecting their lives and careers. These included their biggest fears, challenges and frustrations on the job, as well as what they could do to be most effective at work.

One question asked the respondents – which included a wide range of women in various positions with large, midsize and small companies – “How important to you is it that we address work/life balance?” Nearly 60% of the respondents described this issue as “very important,” while another 20% indicated that it was “important.”

The survey respondents represented a broad range of tenure from an array of linen, uniform and facility services companies. People that are newer to the industry, i.e., five years or less experience, comprised roughly one-third of the respondents. The average tenure among the respondents was 12.74 years, while the longest-serving respondent reported that she has served 43 years in the industry.

Company sizes ranged from 4-50,000 employees, with the average size company having a staff of 2,441. The job titles reported by the respondents included a range of positions, such as Senior Managers (15%); Managers (35%); Others (HR, Safety, QA, Sales, Office, Customer Service Rep., etc.) 20%.

When asked “What’s the biggest fear, challenge or frustration at work?” the top five responses included:

  1. Staffing
  2. Sexism/ageism
  3. Customers
  4. Lack of resources
  5. Lack of appreciation/empowerment

Another question asked “What topics could we (TRSA) address that would be most helpful to you?”

The top two answers were: “How to deal with dismissive behavior, or lack of respect from co-workers or customers.” and “How to navigate being a woman in what has traditionally been a man’s world.”

A third question posed to the respondents asked: “To be most effective, what is one thing women need to STOP, START or CONTINUE doing?” Answers included:

Stop … “complaining, gossiping, apologizing”
Start … “participating, advocating, sharing”
Continue … “forging ahead, pressing on, becoming leaders.”

When asked if TRSA should create a publication to help women advance in their professional and personal lives, the response was very positive. Thirty-two percent of respondents said “It’s about time – we need it”; another 50% said such a publication “Could be useful.”

To learn more about the Women in Textile Services Survey, or the committee’s efforts to help women in the industry, readers should contact TRSA’s Salita Jones at  Click here to see the survey.