Meet Madison Hall, an Operations Manager at Baig Security. She graduated from Protection, Security and Investigation at Humber College and comes packed with credentials such as a certificate in first aid and CPR C, Security, MOAB and Use of Force and Smart Serve. Her goal is to get into Detective work, but more experience is required. Her previous roles include the Hamilton Police as a Cadet, Hospital Security Guard, and Event Security Guard.
Transforming the Security Landscape
Despite ongoing efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, the number of women in this field is still disproportionately low. This is a clear indication that there are systemic barriers that have hindered women from pursuing careers in the security industry and I believe it’s important to identify these barriers and create more opportunities for women to excel in this field. “Only 9% of qualified security officers are women, with 84% of female security officers stating they feel like the security sector is dominated by men.“
A Candid Q&A Interview
I had the opportunity to interview Madison Hall, who is a former Female Security Guard and ask some questions about her experience in this industry:
- What initially attracted you to the field of security? How did you become interested in pursuing a career as a security guard? The end goal is to do Detective work, but more experience is required. Roles in Hamilton Police (cadet), Hospital Security, Event Security, Baig Security (Operations).
- As a woman working in a male-dominated industry, what were some of the challenges you faced in your role as a security guard? Women weren’t visibly trusted as much as men (specifically during her time working event security.) They didn’t allow women to show their capabilities; deescalation, conflict resolution, or strength. “Girls were used as pylons…”
- How did you overcome those challenges and establish yourself as a respected professional in the security industry? As frustrating as it was to be undermined, she started small; first she impressed coworkers, from there, supervisors and then “higher ups” with the help of a Supervisor.
- Can you share any memorable experiences or incidents from your time working as a security guard that had a significant impact on you? At a Country Music Festival an altercation between herself and a Male occurred, the male threw a drink (beer) in the female security guards face and walked away unphased. However, when approached by (six) men in security uniform he was quick to apologize & say that it was a mistake. This made her realize the challenges she’d be faced with.
- In your opinion, what unique qualities or skills did you bring to your role as a female security guard? Women have a natural calmness. They approach situations with a levelheadedness that (most) testosterone fuelled men don’t seem to exhibit/portray. They have a sense of calm and can deescalate situations, as opposed to being aggressive or intimidating to make a point.
- What strategies or approaches did you use to gain the trust and cooperation of your colleagues and team members while working in security? She kept her head down and worked hard to impress those closest to her & those above her. She didn’t show her frustration and kept composure until an opportunity arose where she was able to prove herself.
- Were there any specific safety or security concerns that you had to address differently as a woman in the field? How did you navigate those situations? Going into this field you always have to have the mentality of “be prepared,” “always know what’s around you and be vigilant to what’s coming at you…” You never know who’s under the influence or who has something planned, you’re always on your toes.
- How did you maintain your physical fitness and ensure that you were prepared for the demands of the job as a security guard? There is NO physical training required to be a Security Guard. Security courses are offered online and once a license is obtained they are free to seek employment.
- Can you share any examples of how you used your communication and conflict resolution skills to deescalate tense situations during your time in the security industry? At a festival, an incident occurred with two women who were being escorted out, a Male Security Guard was agitated by the two who were reluctant to leave when he he shouted “Just f*** off already!” The women involved were threatening to go back to the security company to complain about professional conduct when Madison stepped in and was able to deescalate & resolve the situation; resulting in the two women leaving and the security guard keeping his job.
- As a woman working in security, did you have any mentors or role models who inspired or guided you in your career? How did they impact your professional journey? Her first Mentor “Momma,” got things done, showed confidence, taught her to be loud & be heard! Strength.
- What advice would you give to other women who are considering a career in security or are currently working in the field? Off-setting those situations (with biases & discrimination) with confidence is of the utmost importance. Don’t let people push you around & don’t let stereotypes predict how you will perform.
- How do you think the role of women in the security industry has evolved over the years, and what changes do you hope to see in the future? Recently security companies, police forces, etc. have been advertising that they’re hiring women, obviously trying to display diversity… But it shouldn’t have to be so blatantly displayed; it should just be lived. Make it a NORM for women to just be in these industries, you shouldn’t have to glamorize it.
- Did you encounter any misconceptions or stereotypes about women working in security? How did you challenge or overcome those perceptions? Physical Strength & Capabilities; not being given a chance to show what you’re able to do. There’s also a different perspective in professionalism when it comes to being a security guard as well. For example; at events Male guards have been seen flirting with attendees and it has been acceptable… But if it were a woman it would be seen as “unprofessional,” it would be seen as a distraction.
- What were some of the most valuable lessons you learned during your time as a security guard, both personally and professionally? “Value your friendships & connections; vocalize when someone is doing a good job. Provide that positive feedback and be that source of positivity.” and “Stay true to yourself, have confidence. Don’t let anyone dictate your life; how you’re gonna do it, how you’re gonna get there… I feel like girls are made to feel incapable and inferior… Don’t!”