How the Recession Moved us Closer to Gender Balance

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An article was recently published in the Irish Sunday Independent, featuring top hairstylist and businessman Aidan Fitzgerald, which looks at the recession and gender balance within certain professions.

The article came about due to Noirin O’Sullivan becoming the first woman ever to be appointed as Garda Commissioner. This means that Ireland’s top two justice jobs are now occupied by women. With this, the Sunday Independent asked several top business professionals, “Is the move towards gender balance in the workplace finally getting underway?”

Hairdressing has long been thought of as a career with women, yet salon owner, Aidan Fitzgerald, says that the industry now attracts a lot of men. Aidan says,

When I started out 43 years ago, only about 20% of hairdressers were men. Now, senior level hairdressing is made up of about 45% to 50% men. Hair is a big business, and guys are seeing that these days.

Fitzgerald started his hairdressing apprenticeship aged 15 and was the only male on the course. He opened his first salon aged 19, and his current premise in Black Rock has been thriving since 1991. While Fitzgerald has forged a successful career for himself, his choice of job initially left his parents puzzled.

I grew up in a family of eleven. We were always competitive and we all had jobs. I never wanted to go to school and I always wanted to earn money, but when I told my dad I was doing hairdressing, he was worried about what he would tell the others in the office. My mother couldn’t understand all my trendy haircuts, Fitzgerald laughs.

Over the past few years, Fitzgerald has noticed that people have become more open-minded,

I went through a phase a few years ago of calling myself a businessman – just to make life easier. Now, hairdressing is a big industry and people’s reactions are very different.

When it comes to making it as a hairdresser, Fitzgerald says that gender is not important,

You are solely judged on your ability and skills in hairdressing. If you deliver the goods and look after the customer, you will succeed – regardless of agenda.

This article was featured in the Irish Sunday Independent.

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