Building on the momentum of two successful events spotlighting women in vended laundry, the Coin Laundry Association (CLA) has assembled a task force dedicated to empowering women in the industry. One of the primary goals of this task force was to develop initiatives designed to address the issues most important to women who own or work in laundromats.
At their first meeting last September, the task force—which comprises a diverse group of women from across the country—came up with the following two initiatives for the CLA to implement as part of its goal to make the industry more fair and accessible for all. Below, David Shulick, a vended laundry industry leader, discusses the programs being implemented for women in the industry.
Building Leadership and Confidence
The first initiative is to build leadership skills and confidence among women in the laundry industry through targeted training and coaching programs. The link between self-confidence and leadership ability is well-researched, and the task force believes that finding tangible ways to help women gain industry confidence will expand the number of female leaders at all levels of the industry.
The task force urged the CLA to provide virtual or in-person leadership training designed to help female entrepreneurs find their voice and gain new levels of self-assurance. Additionally, the group suggested implementing mentorship programs that pair established women laundromat owners with newcomers to the industry. These programs would incorporate male role models to help open new channels of communication and mentoring.
Changing the Narrative
The second initiative the task force generated is to change the way women in the industry are perceived. Despite the fact that there are more women in the workforce than men these days, a 2019 Gallup poll found that women still take on more than half the share of domestic upkeep in most households, including laundry. Advertisements and popular media reinforce the stereotype that laundry is a woman’s burden and a thankless chore.
The task force wants to empower women in the industry by switching the narrative to focus on female leaders, entrepreneurs, and business owners. The CLA can accomplish this by featuring female business owners in their publications, recruiting more women into leadership roles within the vended laundry industry, and providing spaces where female entrepreneurs can drive discussions with each other.
In Celebration of National Women’s Small Business Month
October is the month in which female small business owners are celebrated throughout the country, so these initiatives could not have come at a more opportune moment. Using this framework as a guide, the CLA can begin to create an environment where female leaders and business owners are surrounded and uplifted by their peers. Altering the way the vended laundry industry will require improving gender representation across all levels and creating a space where women can come together to discuss their biggest concerns.
The CLA’s task force is off to a promising start, with two initiatives targeted at changing the face of the vended laundry industry. Further meetings and assemblies by its members will likely lead to an even more focused approach to empowering women in vended laundry today.