OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS I’ve attended dozens of stage demonstrations, keynote addresses and panel discussions at professional beauty industry events and shows. And, very often, when our industry’s top artists and experts take the stage, there’s a very soft, yet very perceptible murmur among the audience. Have you heard it?

That low mumble is the women in the audience, whispering to one another, wondering why there are no or so few women on stage before them. After all, in the words of one wise woman profiled in this issue, “This is an industry fueled by women both in revenue and in workforce.” And she’s right. According to the Professional Beauty Association, 84 percent of those in personal appearance occupations are women. And in my personal experience, most of you continue to report that 90 percent or more of your clientele are women.

With that murmur in mind last year, a cover feature from Time caught my eye. The New Sheriffs of Wall Street profiled three powerful women charged with the responsibility of cleaning up this country’s financial mess—a mess the article boldly claimed was mostly created by the men of Wall Street. I clipped the article, and brought it to one of our editorial brainstorming sessions.

After long discussions among our editors, we decided to take a new spin on October’s obligatory “pink theme,” and profile some of this industry’s great female minds, inspiring leaders and cutting-edge artists. In a Jane Austen-esque moment, we determined MODERN SALON would showcase “Women of Style,” while SALON TODAY would spotlight “Women of Substance.” In addition, as a representative of the industry’s only business-focused trade pub, I decided we should take a cold, hard look at the current status of women in business. How far have we come? What’s still holding us back? (See The Concrete Ceiling starting on page 40.)

Spotlight Shy?

Now back to the issue of inequality of women on our professional stages. Some have suggested that our female majority audiences prefer watching male artists. Others claim that as female professionals tend to put their careers on the backburner to tend to the needs of their growing families, they shy away from roles that would require multiple hours outside the traditional workweek and miles and miles of travel.

As I was interviewing our Women of Substance, I developed my own theory. Several of these strong women remarked on how uncomfortable it was to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. I found myself wondering if there was a correlation between that discomfort and the ego-baring experience of displaying your opinions and talents in front of thousands. Then our contributing writer unearthed a statistic that further supported this theory: When a job listing is posted, women will apply if they meet 100 percent of the criteria, while men will apply when they meet just 60 percent.

When it comes to shifting the spotlight to women, we know our October magazines, websites, blogs and videos are only scratching the surface. Our industry is filled with thousands of talented, fierce, passionate, visionary and leading women. This month’s stories are our love letter to all of you.

 

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