“This industry has a rich history of female window cleaners”
From the equipment and technology not fitting quite right, a lack of sizes and selections for the female users of these tools, even gloves for winter work. None of that is easy to find for female users in this industry. There is a need for balance, to work towards a time when the female window cleaner can easily get the tools and equipment they need to grow in much better ways in this industry.
As the father of a female window cleaner, and the teacher, in the field and the office, it has been a journey learning how to adapt our flow, how to work our strengths and weaknesses as a two-person window cleaning team, how we have modified existing tools and technology to fit Grace in much better ways, helping her get the edge she needs, to help her find that balance with her tools.
In the office, showing her the ways, the old ways, and the new ways, and for me to be open to learning her ways, the office is a place where Grace really shines, sure, she can handle the fieldwork, she handles it very well, it can be an extremely hot day, high humidity, or it can be single digits and freezing temps, she handles the fieldwork like no other I have trained or worked with. The office work, the connection with the client, scheduling, re-scheduling, weather delays, and cancellations, then over to the billing, invoicing, inventory, and so on, every aspect of what it is to be a window cleaner in and out of the field. She has harnessed all these teachings and taken herself to those next levels that ensure this industry has powerful females within. She is doing what every male in this industry does and in most cases, she is doing it better, because female window cleaners can be just as good if not better than their male counterparts.
When I started cleaning windows it was not something I thought I would enjoy enough to make my career. I was a 20-year-old college student that woke up to an email stating the restaurant I worked at was closed effective immediately. I went out to the living room and told Craig the news, he jokingly said “Wanna come to work with me?” and much to his surprise I said yes.
“I’ve been cleaning windows for almost 5 years now and I can honestly say I enjoy my work.”
Once I graduated from college I started working full time and have been able to take over quite a bit of the office work. I enjoy both field and office work, although there are pros and cons to each, I think a balance of both works best for me. Office work can be fun sometimes because I get to come up with cool designs using old window cleaner press photos as reference and inspiration.
As a female window cleaner, I have found it interesting to see some of the historical photos of women cleaning windows. One of my favorite photos in our collection is of a woman named Celia Juntunen. The photograph was taken on May 23, 1929, in Minneapolis, MN. Celia’s husband suffered a fall and was unable to work his window cleaning route due to his injuries, so Celia made the decision to take over his route while he recovered. Not only did she step up to the plate when faced with a stressful situation, but she also continued to clean windows after her husband’s injuries healed because she enjoyed it.
The photo along with the story is extremely inspiring as a female window cleaner.
One of the cons to being a female window cleaner is that there are not many products for us. Especially as a petite female, it is extremely hard to find tools that fit me. Craig and I have worked together to modify our tools to best serve us, whether this is making a smaller tool belt for me, modifying equipment, or even finding proper apparel. Maybe one day in the future we will see a time where proper fitting gear is more available and accessible to window cleaners worldwide!
Female window cleaners can be just as good if not better than their male counterparts.
-By Grace Gerengher & Craig Hendzel