A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.
Posted On by Hugo Reed
The Locksmith industry has been dominated by men (pretty much like everything else) for the past few decades. There are many assumptions that can be drawn from this claim, I drew a few of them myself. One might be inclined to think that the lack of female locksmiths is due to gender inequality, and they would not be wrong to make such an assumption. However, that doesn’t mean that this is the only answer to the question “Are there any female locksmiths out there?” In an attempt to answer this question we went on a quest of medieval proportions (we conducted a survey) to try and determine how many female locksmiths are out there, and to also figure out the different factors that had a role to play in this.
We thought that this topic was worth exploring because of how relevant it is and how relevant it is going to be years from now. The locksmith industry is primed for growth, and its rate of employment is well above the national average. In a sector that has so many budding opportunities, we thought it would be pertinent and thought provoking to explore and find out if there are any female locksmiths out there.
From the onset of this research project that was conducted, I was working with a few assumptions that I wanted to either prove or disprove. Chief among these was, the elephant in the room, gender inequality. No one on this planet is a stranger to gender inequality, even if you have not experienced it in some way or form you have seen it manifest in one way or another. The history of gender inequality has been a long and arduous one that has had (and is still having) a massive impact of global proportions.
Gender inequality is usually used to refer to the unfair, unequal and biased treatment that is directed toward an individual or groups of people based on their gender identification. These inequalities are birthed and promoted by the socially constructed gender roles we created and then fell victim to over the years. Needless to say, if someone is being excluded from an opportunity based on their gender in the 21st Century, people will have something to say about it. This was one of my initial assumptions, I thought that one of the reasons the locksmith industry was predominantly male was because women were not being given the opportunity to pursue it as a viable career.
However, I have always been a proponent of the notion that there are two sides to every argument. This allowed me to also entertain the assumption that maybe, just maybe, there weren’t many female locksmiths because there weren’t many interested candidates. If there weren’t as many women, as there were men, interested in becoming locksmith technicians then there would obviously be more male locksmith technicians. Things are never that simple.
Many people will come to the conclusion that most women are not even interested in becoming female locksmiths, because a majority of them have spent their entire lives being force fed the idea that a career like that is not suitable for women. On the other hand, some people will just conclude that some women genuinely do not want to become locksmiths because the profession is of no interest to them. There are also those who will assume that if a woman wants to become a locksmith, all she has to do is put her mind to it and pursue her dreams, but it’s really not that easy.
The notion that a person’s opinion and work is valued less due to their gender is quite absurd, however, it is something that many women have to deal with on a daily basis. Yes, mostly women, because if you identify as a man, statistically speaking, you are given a much easier path to tread than any woman out there. Gender inequality pervades many aspects of society even though some people prefer to believe that it is non-existent. The workforce and the employment sector are not exempt from this.
The state of women within the workforce is something that has come under much scrutiny in more recent years since it is a continuing trend that women are treated much differently than their male counterparts. If this occurrence had been based on the foundation of an individual’s mental acuity, then it would be a completely different story. However, in most cases it is based on a person’s gender identification. According to a study conducted by the Lean In Organization, in conjunction with McKinsey & Company, women are still grossly underrepresented in most of the major facets of many companies throughout the United States, and worldwide. Most people are quick to attribute this under-representation to women leaving the workforce due to personal issues or having to cater to a family. Interestingly enough, there is only a small percentage of men that are noted to leave their jobs for the same stated reasons.
I am sure that many readers have established assumptions and preconceived notions about this topic, but I urge you to dispel these and take a look at the data we were able to put together.
We compiled a list of locksmiths that were chosen based on high Yelp rankings (as well as good reviews) and how they showed up on Google Maps. This selection method was meant to weed out any call centers and dispatch centers so we could focus on actual locksmith shops. The locksmith shops were also chosen by their proximity to some major metropolitan areas:
The list we compiled consisted of 103 Locksmith companies. Out of the 103 locksmith companies contacted, we were able to compile data from 43 companies*. 5 of the companies that were on our list were referred to us by some of the locksmiths we spoke to during the course of our research.
We asked them these basic questions to gather our data:
* 10 of the companies did not provide answers to the final question.
We found the following answers in response to the above questions:
In response to our questions, we found out that the 43 companies that provided us with data employed a total of 274 locksmiths. Out of that number, there was an aggregated 12% of locksmiths on staff that were female (aggregate number = 32/274).
Also, there is an aggregated 88% of locksmiths on staff that are male (aggregate number = 242/274). In addition to this, out of the 33 companies that managed to complete the survey, 21 of them were currently employing or had employed a female locksmith, which equals about 64%.
Out of the 21 who had and/or are employing female locksmiths, 7 were currently employing the only female locksmith they have ever had (33%). 10 locksmith companies out of those 21 had employed a female locksmith in the past but were not currently employing one (48%).
Around 44% (19 out of 43 companies) of the locksmith companies had female locksmiths currently on staff. We also found that roughly 56% (24 out of 43 companies) of the companies surveyed only employ male locksmiths. It was also shown that only 5% (2 out of 43 companies) of these companies had an all female locksmith workforce. Furthermore, we were able to see that around 7% (3 out of 43) of these companies have an evenly split workforce between men and women.
The data that we collected was able to give us some additional findings of the nature of employment for most locksmith companies:
The data we gathered told us a lot, to say the least. It helped dispel, and also shed light on, some of the assumptions that we were working with, and I am sure it did the same for many of our readers. I was pleasantly surprised with some of the numbers we were able to gather. It showed me that there are a few female locksmiths out there, even though it might be hard to find them by following the results generated by a search query. It proved to me that there is so much more information available when you conduct your own research rather than relying on a search engine to provide you with the pertinent answers.
The search query “Female Locksmith” generates leads to old articles and to a number of different pages that claim to be talking about two very prominent female locksmiths. These two locksmiths were Billie Boyd and Bernadette LeBleu. I scoured the internet for more information on these two (birthplaces, the span of their careers, what might have gotten them interested in locksmithing) and came up with very little. Each of these women is postulated to be the herald of changing times since they overcame the obstacles of being a female locksmith. Both Boyd and LeBleu were said to have committed their lives to pursuing this profession and gained prominence among their peers. It is a wonderful story, but there is very little information that supports these claims.
The data we gathered showed us that there are many more female locksmiths out there than one would initially think, and there are definitely more out there than any credible search engine would direct you to. We were all pleasantly surprised by the number of female locksmiths that are out in the field, helping rescue customers from car lockouts or home lockouts, and they outnumber our initial postulation.
A few of the locksmiths and some of the owners of these lock companies were able to provide some further insight for us, and were also able to help us make sense of some of the assumptions we had before conducting this research. The owner of one of the locksmith companies we got in contact with said that he would be apprehensive about hiring a female locksmith, not because he didn’t think she would be competent enough to perform the job as well as any of her male counterparts, but because he would not want to put her in any dangerous situations.
He went on to explain that many of the locksmith technicians he currently employed responded to a lot of emergency lockout calls at odd hours of the night (this is common for 24 Hour Locksmith services) and that several of them have been placed in precarious situations throughout their tenure with him. In his explanation, he cited the fact that he would not want to place any woman in that position because he thought it was dangerous. Essentially, even if a female locksmith was interested in an employment opportunity with the aforementioned company, she would not be given the opportunity out of concern for her own safety. It seems rather unfair that she will not be given a say in any of this but overlooked because she is female and they want to keep her safe.
I believe it would be better to equip these female locksmiths, and the male locksmiths as well, with the proper means to defend themselves should the need ever arise. If locksmith companies, such as this one, work on implementing safety plans that aim to keep their employees safe at all times, then the issue of safety would not be used as an excuse or a crutch used to hold up antiquated ways of thinking.
In addition to the claims above, he stated that most of the women he knows, especially those with familial responsibilities, would not be willing to work such odd hours. The comments he provided raised two important issues. The first being that several locksmiths would most likely think the same way without realizing that their chivalry was, in fact, limiting. The second issue it raised was that of women being judged based on the traditional roles of being mothers and care providers. However, this is a rather unfair cutoff point because not all women want to be mothers or care for a family.
The answers I received from him echoed that of several other company owners and established locksmiths. Without knowing it, they were also echoing the sentiments that fanned the flames of gender inequality.
In the process of conducting this survey, it became apparent that there was a lack of opportunity on both sides of the spectrum. From our data, we saw that 56% of these locksmith companies had only ever employed male locksmiths, and upon further conversation with some of those companies, we realized that this tradition was not about to change, at least for them. There was an inherent bias that limited some of these locksmith companies from providing female locksmiths with a chance.
It was implied that the profession of locksmithing was a lot more welcoming to men than it was women. Tracing the butterfly effect across the industry showed that many women were not even being given the opportunity to pursue becoming a locksmith.
However, there are a few female locksmiths out there, who were given the opportunity to pursue their passions, and they absolutely love their careers. One of the female locksmiths I was lucky enough to speak with, explained that she had grown up in a family surrounded by locksmiths. She found herself immersed in lock picking tools and the trade of locksmithing since she was a little girl. In her case, she believed that becoming a locksmith was a viable career path and she made it happen due to the support she had around her. In a nutshell, she was given an opportunity that she capitalized on. Her story is reminiscent of one of the female locksmiths that we found going down the rabbit hole of google.
The data gathered showed us that 5% of these locksmith companies had an all female workforce while 7% of them had a workforce that was evenly split between females and males. These small fractions, coupled with a few of the other data sets we were able to gain from our survey, hinted at the lack of interest from most women. A few of the locksmiths that were contacted highlighted the fact that they would be willing to hire a female locksmith but that they had never had any female applicants come in. Meanwhile, they had an excess of male applicants coming in, some of which were barely even qualified.
Quite a few of these locksmith companies had a good number of female employees, but not a female locksmith. Most of these women occupied staff positions as opposed to line positions and were completely content to continue to do so.
The data gathered showed us that out of the 33 companies that managed to complete the survey, 21 of them were currently employing or had employed a female locksmith, which gave them the aggregate of 64%. This shows that there is the potential for change in the industry because there are some opportunities out there for female locksmiths. In order to capitalize on this potential, locksmith companies need to aim at broadcasting their available employment opportunities and focus on aiming them towards both genders. In addition to this, a focus should be geared towards helping women develop their interests in locksmithing so that they can feel more confident to pursue it as a viable career option. One of the greatest tools that people interested in locksmithing can utilize are some amazing online locksmithing resources. Most of the women who do end up pursuing it as a career grew up around it and were told that it was alright to pursue this as long as they believed they could do it and do it well. This is an option that should be available to any woman anywhere so that she is given the choice to say whether she wants to pursue it or not.
I believe it means that the future of the locksmith industry is bright. It can eventually reach a place where women have a much more direct role in the industry as female locksmiths and professionals. The industry seems to be evenly split between those who would not hire a female locksmith and those who would. The main difference between these two schools of thought is unfounded bias. If more women are given the opportunity to become female locksmiths, I believe it will trigger an increase in the number of women who want to make it their career.
The face of the locksmith industry has changed many times over the years and continues to change, which is one of the things that makes it so fascinating. I believe we are on the cusp of witnessing the next big change and it would be great to witness the rise of female locksmiths.
Being a female locksmith is, without a doubt, one of the hardest things to do. It takes a lot of time and patience to learn the required skills and, even more, time and dedication for people to begin to take you seriously. In an industry dominated by men (both enthusiasts and practitioners), female locksmiths are extremely rare and with the resilience they have shown over the years they can only get better from here on out. There were many assumptions raised and many questions answered. The most important question about whether there are any female locksmiths out there was returned with a resounding, “Yes”. There may not be many, but there are some, and their numbers will surely increase as time goes by.