Removals is traditionally a very male environment due to the role of heavy lifting and men stereotypically being much stronger. There are, however, some women in the industry looking to break this mould, found in female-only removal company Van Girls.
Van Girls offer a wide range of services, from residential and commercial moves to fine art handling and transportation. They also offer safe and secure storage.
As an all-female team, Van Girls have seen their business boom with many clients instantly assuming that they will be much more careful and cautious, and many female clients feeling safer to allow them into their homes. Part of their success, as ex-fire-fighter founder Emma Lanman believes, is that Van Girls works very hard to create an environment where women feel “happy, comfortable and motivated to work”, which for this sector is a rare thing.
Amongst their staff are many who were previously police officers, paramedics, army and RAF officers and rugby players who all share a love of sport and physicality, essential for the job. Many of their male clients are often surprised at how physically strong these women are, with no fridge or washing machine to phase them.
While many male removal workers have branded the company as ‘sexist’, Van Girls are nothing of the sort. Sex discrimination employment law is in place to protect many people in many different industries, including removals. Van Girls currently has a male mechanic and accountant, but as of yet no men directly employed by them. Lanham’s dream is to have men only in the office, especially as receptionists. Part of this is also that they haven’t as of yet had to actually advertise for any position vacancies. The majority of their employees have been hired via word of mouth or through mutual friends of owner Emma Lanman as women are keen to get involved with the company and its ideology.
These women are all breaking the mould, redefining what the traditional ‘removal man’ looks like, as well as disproving the stereotype that women are weak and fragile. Perhaps it’s time for the rest of the removals industry to take example from these women are start to encourage more female employees. While many industries are slowly becoming more gender equal, removals still remains far behind and that’s something that needs to change.