From taxi to carpentry: 4 entrepreneurs against gender stereotypes at work thanks to digitization

Francesca Frau

From footwear to carpentry: SumUp tells the story of 4 female entrepreneurs who have followed the passion for their profession, overcoming gender stereotypes.

Does gender still matter in professions in 2022? Yes, and ILOSTAT data, which analyzes employment by gender in 121 countries, prove it. In fact, if women are more present in personal assistance jobs (88%) or in the health professions (76%), they are less represented in the construction and transport sector (17%).

Despite this, there are some examples that show us how women are able to assert themselves and play any role, breaking down stereotypes. Precisely for this reason, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, SumUp, a fintech leader in the sector of digital and cashless solutions for small businesses, wanted to collect and tell the stories of four courageous entrepreneurs. Women who have overcome gender barriers and clichés, choosing activities and professions traditionally considered “masculine”.

“Many entrepreneurs who use SumUp – explains Umberto Zola, Growth Marketing Lead – are women who have chosen to follow the love for their profession beyond gender stereotypes and to promote their business digitally. We want to share the stories of our most inspirational entrepreneurs, to break down any prejudice and show that all women can carry out any business and pursue their dream “. Courageous women, who have chosen to pursue a passion with tenacity, overcoming preconceptions and innovating ancient crafts thanks to digital tools.

Daniela Diletti, craftsmanship beyond stereotypes

Daniela Diletti

To revolutionize the world of footwear was thought by Daniela Diletti, entrepreneur from the Marches who, in 2012, founded her company. Starting from a first shop in Turin, she then created some temporary stores in Italy and around the world, as well as an e-commerce.

Hers was both a digital and cultural revolution, which continues today and aims to break down the distance between the final customer and producers, overcoming the stereotypes linked to the female figure. “The design and production of shoes is a purely masculine environment – says Daniela -. Shoes are made above all according to masculine aesthetic parameters that see women’s feet idealized and conformistic: the female figure has always been imagined with tiny feet and small shoes. Therefore, it is considered normal that wearing shoes, especially for a woman, should prove to be a bit painful, not listening to personal needs: from this it follows that the problems of deformation of the foot also nourish a strong cultural derivation “.

To carry out this important battle, Daniela has staked everything on dialogue with women. “I have always tried to understand women’s problems up close and to communicate actively to solve them – she reveals. This is why she, before selling a pair of shoes to a client, never asks the size she wears, but the size of her foot, as well as any problems or pathologies. I use digital and messaging tools to involve my customers in the production process and to provide detailed assistance during all stages of the purchase, getting to know carefully who is on the other side of the chat “.

Daniela’s story demonstrates how it is possible, with courage, to overcome gender stereotypes. “Business has always been considered a male matter – she reveals – and I believe that prejudices against women who work or do business still exist: however, I do not consider them to be an obstacle”, she continues. “It is essential for a woman to be able to overcome this first barrier of distrust and not stop believing in her project”. A useful tip to get started? Take advantage of the digital tools available today – from social media to SumUp mobile POS – to start your business quickly and easily.

Lorena d’Agostino, the challenge of women at the wheel

Lorena D'Agostino

Lorena d’Agostino is one of the first female taxi drivers in history. She started her business in Milan back in 1990 pursuing her love for driving. To push her towards this profession was the desire to be able to manage herself independently and meet new people every day. That of the taxi driver has always been associated with the male figure, but this has not stopped Lorena. “Thirty years ago a taxi driver was considered an alien – she reveals: many refused to get in the car when they realized that I am a woman. Fortunately, similar incidents are very rare at the moment ”.

Over the years Lorena has seen the work of taxi driver change and update. An example is Wetaxi, the app call taxi, or SumUp’s mobile POS. “In fact, the moment of payment, in particular, requires a lot of speed – she explains. Fortunately, almost all of my customers pay by card and lately more and more people use the contactless method, paying through the phone or smartwatch: the SumUp mobile POS allows you to accept digital payments in a smart way, speeding up the process and simplifying work ” .

Marcella Menozzi, a passionate carpenter

Marcella Menozzi

Emilian entrepreneur, in 2016 Marcella Menozzi approached the world of wooden creations. For her it was love at first sight and with tenacity he pursued her dream. First she attended various courses to refine her technique, then she decided to knock on the doors of some shops. The target? Become a carpenter! In 2019, Marcella finally opened her business and an e-commerce – MenoDesign. She today she designs and manufactures bespoke furniture, wooden objects and lamps using recycled materials and creative furnishings, giving vent to her creative vein.

“I love my job and although it is generally perceived as a male profession, I have never felt belittled or undervalued – she says -. I am fortunate to have a wonderful relationship both with my clients, who are mostly women, and with my collaborators. It was the latter who taught me how to work best: even when there are heavy objects to move, it is not always a question of strength, and with the right technique it is possible to lift weights even for those who do not have a particularly robust constitution. What if I’m in trouble? I ask for help, without feeling defective or inferior “.

Francesca Frau, the art of wrought iron is a woman

Francesca Frau

Young and passionate Sardinian artisan, Francesca Frau has decided to carry on the family tradition of wrought iron working. Thus she began to create interior and exterior furnishing accessories as well as iron sculptures, designed to enhance the environments of houses, hotels, shops and b & bs. Her products are created with ancient techniques such as metal forging, flaming and chiselling. The high quality of the creations is the result of participation in the most important manifestations of artistic craftsmanship in Sardinia, which put Francesca in contact with various master craftsmen from all over the island.

“Wrought iron working has always been seen as a purely male profession – he explains -. Twenty years ago it was very difficult to think that a girl could do this job, I could change my opinion only by physically inviting the public to visit the laboratory and observe me while I was at work. Today, with the web, everything changes: skepticisms are dismantled in the bud because the images travel around the world in real time and this breaks down any stereotype. I believe that feminine touch and taste can give added value to this art, like many others, and I try to spread this message through communication on my social channels, where I receive a lot of encouragement from both women and men “.

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