In one sentence, Teagan Dowler, the founder of The Blue Collared Woman (The BCW) has summed up the real reason this series exists.
“… I found it very useful to reach out to other women in similar circumstances to share experiences, discuss coping strategies and to address the feelings of isolation and loneliness.”
Let’s hit rewind and delve into how Teagan’s path led her to The BCW.
Having worked in underground coal mines, open cut coal mines, steel processing, iron ore mining and major civil construction, it’s fair to say Teagan’s had an extensive career in what are traditionally male dominated roles and industries.
Like most of us, Teagan’s career has seen her celebrating the very best of days and experiencing in what her own words were “downright awful days.”
“It’s the downright awful days that make you more skilled, more resilient and focused on your core passions.”
Wise words that although seeped in truth, can be tough to remember when we’re seemingly trapped in your own suffocating bubble after something hasn’t quite gone to plan.
Despite admitting to experiencing her fair share of dark days, Teagan says traditionally male dominated industries are amazing places to work.
“They give you the opportunity to work on large scale projects, are often fast-paced and plunge you into hardworking, no nonsense cultures.”
So, from Teagan’s point of view, should other women follow a similar career path?
Now, I’m not sure about you, but I think we can apply this piece of advice to almost any industry. Having worked in a sector where there are probably just as many females as males (Comms/PR), I’ve learnt that there are always people out there ready to knock you down. However, you’ll also find people who’ve got your back and will believe in you even when you’ve lost that belief in yourself. Appreciate those people because they’re the ones who’ll get you through the tough times. Enough from me…
According to Teagan, being a woman in what’s traditionally a male dominated industry can have its advantages.
“I’ve been able to ask certain questions my male colleagues felt they couldn’t while being given the opportunity to present a differing point of view that hadn’t been thought of.”
As we all know, there are two sides to every story and while Teagan admits she’s been encouraged and advocated for because of her gender, she admits to facing challenges too.
“Being the only woman in a crew… being excluded from social events… struggling to feel accepted. Women also report feeling overly scrutinized and that they must prove their worth before being accepted.”
These are all experiences Teagan admits to having faced throughout her career.
Today, Teagan is using her many years of experience to help others. The BCW is a community for women working in masculine industries. It’s a place where women can feel safe, connect, support and inspire one another (join their LinkedIn page here).
It’s safe to say that Teagan has found her place – this year, she was named a finalist in the Women in Industry Social Leader Award and her comments have been featured in a range of media publications including CLEO and BOOM Mining.
Oh, and did I mention that she’s been quoted in the Australian House of Representatives?
Watch this space. Something tells me this isn’t the last you’ve heard or read about Teagan Dowler.
Can you relate to Teagan’s story?
If you think you’ve got a powerful story you’d like featured in the series, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
As a writer specializing in working with women in non-traditional roles, I offer a free 15-minute phone or Skype chat where we discuss your business’ needs.
If you’re interested, simply fill out this form and I’ll get back to you to schedule in a time to chat further: http://bit.ly/1L6DAS6