Women are starting to take on prominent roles in the business sector, especially in industries considered to be male-dominant.

For the last 18 years and counting, Janet Neathawk has been the owner of S.J. Neathawk Lumber Company. Since taking her father’s place in 2001, the business grew to two additional locations in Roanoke and Covington, Virginia.

But ever since her beginnings as a bookkeeper there, she said the perception of women in blue-collar occupations significantly improved for the better.

“Ultimately, some of our best salespeople are female. Men have learned to respect them for their knowledge and ability to help service them,” Neathawk explained.

To put it in perspective, Neathawk said half of the employees at the Covington, Virginia location are women.