Look around. If you're at the office, the plant, maybe attending the Rubber Division meeting in Orlando, Fla., how many women do you see? More importantly, how many do you see who hold a position of real authority in the rubber industry?
Not many, most likely. Compared with other industries, the rubber business remains an ``old boys club,'' where only a small percentage of middle management jobs is held by women, where female senior managers are even more of a rarity.
It's not that companies want to remain a bastion of conservative, white male managers. As a series of stories in this issue reveals, sexual discrimination in the business is subtle, rather than blatant. It is nothing like it was in the past in virtually the entire business world. Rather, the inherent nature of the rubber industry keeps women out.
Given a choice, talented women are following the same course as men in choosing careers. The rubber industry doesn't seem as exciting, as lucrative, as secure as other fields. So not many enter the business.
That's a shame, because the opportunities are there, more than ever before. It's a seller's market for capable, educated women in the industry, particularly in the technical end. Rather than a drawback, being a woman is an advantage at some companies that seek staff diversity.
Nevertheless, women probably won't be flocking to the industry anytime soon. Companies should recognize that fact, but keep trying to change it.