Women in non-traditional occupations

ess than 100 years ago women’s occupations were limited to teaching, nursing, and secretarial jobs. Today their choices are unlimited and many are choosing careers in what formerly was a “man’s territory.” Non-traditional occupations are defined as those that generally employ far fewer women than men.

Less than 100 years ago women’s occupations were limited to teaching, nursing, and secretarial jobs. Today their choices are unlimited and many are choosing careers in what formerly was a “man’s territory.” Non-traditional occupations are defined as those that generally employ far fewer women than men. Researchers say that “if less than a third of the workers in an occupation are women, then it’s officially non-traditional.”

Many non-traditional occupations are in the areas of engineering, aviation, trades, science and technology, construction, entrepreneurship, and university level academics. In 2007, 68 per cent of Alberta women were employed, making this group an untapped resource for employers wishing to fill some non-traditional jobs. Women also need to take note as wages in non-traditional occupations as usually much higher. In fact, having fewer women in these occupations widens the wage gap between men’s and women’s earning.

There are a number of misconceptions about women doing “men’s jobs.” Some think women can’t do certain jobs because of strength, or issues of working with a group of men. The women I have spoken with assure me that they are well-respected for their skills by their male co-workers and that many employers prefer them—they are easier on the equipment, pay more attention to detail, and have a great work ethic because they feel the need to “prove themselves.” One woman working in auto mechanics said that having smaller hands was an asset and allowed her to work in tighter engine spaces than the men on her team. All the women I spoke to loved their jobs and said they did not feel discrimination in their workplaces.

Women in Non-Traditional Occupations is a new publication that offers information on this type of work—it dispels myths and explores careers in seven occupations ranging from law enforcement to wildlife biologist. Information on job duties, working conditions, personal characteristics, and educational requirements as well as career contact information is provided. These seven occupations feature interviews with women who work in them. This publication helps you find an occupation that fits, and features five pages of resources listing everything from assistance with education and training to family support and career specific contacts.

To obtain a copy of this booklet, drop in to our office or call us. We are Alberta Employment and Immigration and are located on Main Street in Stettler. Call us at 403-742-7586. This publication is also available on-line.

Visit www.alis.alberta.ca and click on the e products and services heading and then on publications.

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