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Women in non-traditional careers


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Women in non-traditional careers
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Roche, Teresa Ann
University of South Florida
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Dissertations, Academic -- Adult Education -- Specialist -- USF
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ABSTRACT: In a traditional male dominated field such as construction, and automotive technology, artificial barriers and attitudes have often prevented qualified females from reaching their full potential. The late entrance of females into these fields has created very few role models for nontraditional younger females entering these professions. This study was designed to create a profile for nontraditional females working in a male dominated work force. A large percentage of females have experienced some barriers due to discrepancies in gender performance. Acceptance by peers, community and administrators, combined with the challenge of balancing family and career appears to be areas of concern for nontraditional females.
Thesis (Ed.S.)--University of South Florida, 2006.
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by Teresa Ann Roche.
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Women in Nontraditional Careers by Teresa Ann Roche A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Education Specialist Degree Department of Adult Career and Higher Education College of Education University of South Florida Major Professor: William E. Blank, Ph.D. Victor Hernandez, Ph.D. William Benjamin, Ph.D. Date of Approval: July 21, 2006 Keywords: females, barriers, ge nder, stereotypes, workforce Copyright 2006, Teresa A. Roche


Dedication I dedicate this thesis to my parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Roche, and family who have given me more than life. They have made me a strong, determined, persistent, dedicated woman who believes that work will alwa ys pay off. I dedicate this topic to all women, especially my mother, who was a courageous Navy WAVE during World War II. She shined along with all the other gals! During the finishing of the revisions of my summary, my family was very saddened about the demise of two very dear family members, Mr. William Kaler in Ocala, Florida, and Mr. Thomas Lynch of Ro chester, New York, who were loved by all. This work is dedicated to my parents’ family, Mrs. Thomas Lynch, and Mrs. William Kaler, my godmother. I know of the love that both of their friends and families have for Mr. Lynch and Mr. Kaler; and these dear love d ones would wish for me that I carry out my mission to advance young women into any path they choose including nontraditional careers. I also dedicate this work to a very special young lady, Christina Ortiz, who I mentor. Her dedication, and nonstop spirit in th e last seven years are remarkable, despite her challenges. I hope this work challenges he r to set her goals high and never give up.


Acknowledgements I acknowledge and thank my committee me mbers, Dr. Victor Hernandez, Dr. William Benjamin. I would especially like to thank Dr. William Blank, my major professor, who encouraged me to focus on th e process, along with guidance in looking for various research matter and statistical st udies pertaining to my challenging topic. Special recognition goes to my friend, Ms. Barbara J. Toll, who was my typist. She has been a true “angel.” Another special recognition goes to Dr. Joanne Joyner, as she is a true dear friend and another “blessi ng.” During the revisions of my paper, she proofread my work for errors. I highly appr eciated her expertise and knowledge. I also extend a deep gratitude to Ms. Priscilla Di shon and Ms. Diana Felix, who offered their proofreading and extra pair of “eyes” in a time when I really needed them. In conclusion, I want to thank Dr. S caglione, Dr. Young, and Dr. Henry for their assistance.


i Table of Contents List of Tables iii List of Figures iv Abstract v Purpose of the Study 1 Introduction 2 World War II Brings Changes in the Workplace 5 The Culture of the Automotive Shop Floor 8 The Automotive Industry 9 World War II Brings Changes to the Automotive Industry 12 Females in Nontraditional Industries 14 Vocational Education Programs and the Carl D. Perkins Act 17 Career and Technical Education 20 Females Preparing for the Workforce 21 The Role of Education and Training for Females and for all Workers 25 Females and Computer Education 27 The Career Selection Process 29 Recent Trends in Female Career Opportunities 31 Female Choices 33 Female Gender 34 The Progress Made by Females in Math, Science, and Technology 36


ii What the Research Reveals from the Classroom 38 Technology and Gender 39 The Impact of Role-Modeling on Women’s Career Choices 41 Characteristics of Nontraditional Occupations 47 Females and Minorities in Apprenticeships in Florida 49 Conclusion 52 References 57 Appendices 60 Appendix A: Tables and Figures 61


iii List of Tables Table 1. Growth in Females-Own ed Firms by Industry (1997-2002) 61


iv List of Figures Figure 1. “Non-Traditional” Wome n-Owned Firms Growing Faster 62


v Women in Nontraditional Careers Teresa A. Roche ABSTRACT In a traditional male dominated field such as construction, and automotive technology, artificial barriers and attitudes have often prevented qualified females from reaching their full potential. The late entrance of females into these fields has created very few role models for nontraditional younger females entering these professions. This study was designed to create a profile for nontraditional females working in a male dominated work force. A large percentage of females have e xperienced some barriers due to discrepancies in gender performance. Acceptance by peers, community and administrators, combined with the challenge of balancing family and career appears to be areas of concern for nontraditional females.


1 Purpose of the Study The purpose of this research is to ex amine the history, philosophies, barriers, successes and future trends of females in non-tr aditional careers. The U. S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau (1991) has defined nont raditional jobs as occupations in which females constitute 25 percent or less of the employees in a given occupation (Burnett, Huh, & Rolling, 1996). The study will explain and compare how the variety of different jobs for females has changed over time. The research will show the important effects history has played as a critical role in helping define peopl e's perceptions and attitudes toward females working in non-traditional careers.


2 Introduction The majority of females chose domestic se rvice as an occupati on before 1940; in many rural farming communities, families members had to hire help during harvesting season. Females would work on canning, butter making or processing grain. Men worked on more typical jobs such as planting or harvesting. Often times those who were hired were family members such as daughters, or ev en neighbors. “All were in equal status to their employers, and often shared bedrooms and even beds with members of the family for whom they worked” (Baxadal & Gordon, 1995, p.22). “The best new opportunities were th ose most likely to become permanently available to females such as office work. Thes e opportunities in turn created an incentive for females to complete high school and, am ong the most privileged, even college. (In 1920, 28,000 females attended college, or 7.6 per cent of all females) (Baxadal & Gordon, 1995, p. 22). Many of these college females remained single by choice in these years, made their way into professional and managerial jobs, and especially social work, nursing and teaching. Class differences among females, once arising mainly from the position of their fathers or husbands, now emerged from women’s own positions, along with a division between career women and other females who considered themselves employed temporarily until they were married” (Baxadal & Gordon, 1995). Throughout 1940, new jobs were created; men were hired first and eventually females. In 1941, the Volee Aircraft Company hi red 25 females in California, fourteen in Massachusetts (Coleman, 1995). Although female s made progress in some companies,


3 many employers still refused to hire females. The men’s responses were that “females did not have the physical strength, mechanical ab ility, and emotional stability to do highpaying, skilled factory jobs. In addition, empl oyers said the presence of females would distract them (Coleman, 1995). One of the reasons females had problems getting a job in a nontraditional area was that laws were passed prohibiting marri ed females from getting jobs in local government. During the 1930-1931 school years in a survey of fifteen hundred school districts 77 percent of the dist ricts reported that they refuse d to hire married females and 63 percent of them fired female teachers if they married. In 1936, many Americans said that wives should not work if their husbands had a job. In 1939, 84 percent of insurance companies and 65 percent of banks put limits on married females working (Coleman, 1995). During World War II, females were hired in increasing numbers by the Department of Labor. Several federal agen cies worked together to encourage the employment and work on marketing strategies for females. A ten minute film was shown to females about “Women in Defense” writte n by Eleanor Roosevelt, narrated by actress Katherine Hepburn. The film high lighted careers in areas such as a scientist, a factory worker, a modern pioneer, and a Red Cross volunteer, just to na me a few. Mary Anderson from the Department of Labor a nd head of the Women’s Bureau announced that she “worked at establis hing job training programs for fe males. Through the National Youth Administration (NYA), a program set up during the Great Depression to help unemployed youth, twenty thousand females were learning such skills as welding and radio repair” (Coleman, 1995). Many ethnic organizations became involved, such as the


4 Division of Negro Affairs of the NYA. The director, Mary McLeod Bethune felt it was important to show that all black females we re included in any of the training programs. This was a great achievement, especially since segregation was still legal. America got ready for the war; black Ameri cans “rallied together to insist they be treated on an equal basis with white people” (C oleman, 1995). The military realized that Black Americans were going to be needed in various jobs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued an executive order in 1941 banning di scrimination against employers from not hiring minorities. The order stated in part…” It is the policy of the United States to encourage full participation in the nation de fense program by all citizens of the United States, regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin” (Coleman, 1995).


5 World War II Brings Changes in the Workplace World War II brought dramatic changes. According to Weatherford, (2004) “Just as the been the case with the earlier wars in Tampa’s history, the presence of the military brought a huge economic boom to a city stil l stagnating from the Great Depression. A WPA report from February 1941 made clear th e persistence of poverty” (p. 256). There were positive aspects, for job opportunities for females, in many areas in the skilled careers and industry. But World War II would bring employment opportunities to women unlike they had ever seen before, for in a ddition to the many jobs created by the presence of three airbases, Tampa’s other attraction for the wartime economy was its shipyards” (Weatherford, 2004, p. 257). A song, “Rosie, the Riveter,” soon became the catch phrase that represented all female war workers. Written by Redd Evan sand John Jacob Loeb in 1942, “Rosie, the Riveter,” was first released in February 1943. The upbeat song was heard on the radio, in records and in coin-operated machines located in restaurants, bus a nd train stations that played three-minute versions of the songs called “soundies” (Colem an, 1995). Six million women joined the workforce during World War II. Women worked in shipyards, lumber mills and steel mills. They worked as welders, mechanics, electricians and boilermakers, operated streetcars, buses, cran es, and tractors. In addition, women worked as engineers in the drafting rooms and physicists in i ndustrial laboratories (C oleman, 1995). Women also became role models as police officers, taxicab drivers, la wyers, statisticians, journalists, and members of symphony orchestras (Weatherf ord, 2004). Women served as


6 volunteers for the Red Cross. Millions of wo men worked in jobs for the Civil Defense as air-raid wardens, fire watchers, messengers police and drivers a uxiliary. Many women took on the challenging task and devoted hour s of scanning the sky looking for enemy planes. Men also wanted to join the military. In 1942, Congress created a way for women to serve in the military. The Women’ s Army Auxiliary Corps began with the encouragement of Rep. Edith Nourse Roge rs. Twenty-two women had enlisted from Tampa, and Bertha Langford Hunt was among the first to be commissioned as a WAAC officer earning her lieutenant’s bars in September 1942 (Weatherford, 2004, p. 259-260). World War II produced a record number of ammunition, warshi ps, self-propelled guns, airplanes, tanks and wa rships (Coleman, 1995). Time Magazine called America’s wartime production a miracle (Coleman, 1995). None of this would have taken place without Rosie the Riveter. When the war ended in 1945 so did ma ny jobs for women. Unfortunately, Rosie the Riveter disappeared as quickly as sh e was created. Although the patriotism and loyalty was high from women, to support the men during the wa r, factories and companies were still forced to lay them of f. One woman remembers the day after the war ended. “We met the women at the door, and th ey were lined up all the way down Market Street to the old movie theater about eight blocks away, and we handed them a slip to go over to personnel and get the severance pay. We did not even allow them in the building, all these women with whom I had become so close, had worked seven days a week for years and had been commended so many time s for what they were doing” (Coleman, 1995).


7 The United States Government officially let men know that they “no longer need females workers to fill positions in various jobs” (Coleman, 1995). However, it was very clear that women’s wartime efforts, vi ctories, and achievements and contributions are found in a variety of “the words and wr itings of females and men who lived during World War II; in employment records and st atistics; magazine a nd newspaper articles; radio programs; and thousands of posters, pamphlets and photographs (Coleman, 1995). During the Great Depression th e stereotypes that people ha d in their minds about men and female’s careers were s uddenly postponed due to the miraculous millions of females who went to war for the men by helping out in the various industries. This was a time that females surely proved that tr aditional barriers had been broken down and they had proven they could succeed in the once considered “non traditional” careers for females. It was evident that females rose to the occasion.


8 The Culture of the Automotive Shop Floor Through the twentieth century, societ y and the industry experienced the unpolished male working class culture. The mass production workers and the negative views of male culture were in tension and conflict. Th is background information is important because it helps to understand why females entering the workforce faced such barriers, resistance and great challenges to change for a time. During the early 1930s and 1940s many automotive workers were mad, angry, frustrated, and humiliated. For example, the uprisings at the Briggs and Murray Body Plants in 1933, a strike in the Toledo Automotive Lite Plant, as well as sit down strikes in 1936 and 1937 at the Flint and Detroit plants. There were various strike s in 1941 at Ford, when workers battled in the streets, with police and th e state militia. With all of this unrest, male automotive workers mainly wanted to strive for better pr otection of unions to be tter provide for their families and live what everyone calls the “American Dream.”


9 The Automotive Industry Men in the areas of automotive t echnology, electrical engineering, human resources, management and computer desi gn historically dominated the automotive industry. Many years ago, in the automotive indu stry, as well as other industries, sitting behind a desk answering telephones and typing letters was considered a woman’s place. According to Automotive News, 2000: "Men hold nearly all the highest ra nking jobs. Corporate boards remain male dominated. A woman presiding over a major automaker still seems as distant as a woman in the Oval office. But social and economic changes in the past quarter century that tran sformed women's roles at home, and at work did not bypass the auto industr y. Women have begun to make it in the executive ranks; they are excelling there and the opportunities are expected to expand" (p. 2). Many consultants agree in the industry th at the cultural shif t must multiply, if opportunities and advancement for females are going to continue. According to Mary Mattis of Catalyst, a non-profit organizati on that works with businesses to advance women, "The business is cha nging. Women coming into companies really have to be more decisive about the assignments they accept. And companies, if they really want the women in key positions, have to make sure women get key operating roles"( Automotive News 2000, p. 2). Also, Automotive News (2000) states:


10 “Companies—if they really wanted females in key positions, have to make sure females get key operating roles… Females not only hold key positions, they have those positions that have clout. Clout titles are those that have the most influence and policymaking power… An example of their rise in power can be seen in the statistical figures from some of the numbers in 1999. For all Fortune 500, 1999 companies, 11.9 percent of corporate officers and top earners we re females, up from 8.7 percent in 1996. Additionally, females held 5.1 percent of what Catalyst calls clout titles, up from only 2.4 percent in 1996. There are 22 females on this Automotive News list that hold clout titles, defined by Catalyst chairman, CEO, Vice-Chairman, President COO, senior executive, vice-president, and executive vice president, and senior and group vice presidents and that jumps to 35 percent” (p. 3). Regardless of their cl out titles or not, the Automotive News 100, females have left their mark on the automotive industry. They come from diverse ba ckgrounds, and chose various careers within the automotive industr y. Those females who have the top jobs began working in the automotive industry in mid level positions. Other groups of females that are changing the automotive i ndustry’s future are working in the area of suppliers. There are still many other females achieving in nontraditional careers such as automotive design, sales, marketing, engineeri ng and interior design. There are females being resourceful serving th e industry from the outside by working for associations sponsoring outreach programs associated with the industry, and working for associations as advocates on behalf of females ( Automotive News, 2000). While this statement is a


11 reflection of the automotive industry, positive changes are being made in the management part of the industry. Women in other nontraditional careers such as agriculture, construction, engineering, and computer technology face barriers in their careers in different forms. Perhaps the st rong career oriented women of the automotive industry of 2006 can help caree r and technical education lead ers to improve the education for future younger females. In order to do this we must implement a strong curriculum in the public schools, which includes cooperative education and work experience prior to graduation from high school.


12 World War II Brings Changes to the Automotive Industry For many years, the majority of American females chose to stay home and raise their children. The typical American family was portrayed on television programs during the 1950s or 1960s such as, “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” and “Leave It to Beaver.” During these prime-time programs, the father worked in a business office while the mother stayed at home with the childre n. While this scenario by no means accurately portrayed every American household, it clos ely reflected the valu es and ideals of a majority of females in the country (Sheng, Hall & Rojewski, 1996, p. 3). Social change during the late 1960s through the 1980’s, along with financial necessities allowed females to obtain a foundation in th e business world, especially “redefining their role to include paid employment as a norm ra ther than an exception” (Nash, cited in Sheng, Hall & Rojewski, 1996, p. 3). Nash forecasted that these trends would persist for the remainder of this century. Thus, between 1985 and 2000, white males who only a generation ago made up the dominant segment of the labor market, will compromise only 15 percent of net additions to the U. S. workforce. The majority of new entrants will be females and non-white minorities. Females continue to work in traditiona lly female occupations such as teaching, food service, and library, retail sales, nursing a nd clerical positions as they did during the 1960s when they had almost no choices in terms of careers. According to Sheng, Rojewski, and Hall (1996): Females repr esented 80 percent administrative support workers; 9 percent precision production, craft repair workers; 68 percent retail, personal


13 services; 40 percent ex ecutive managers and administrato rs, and 9 percen t non-traditional careers (p. 3).


14 Females in Nontraditional Industries According to Weeks (2001) in the article, entitled Enterprising Females in NonTraditional Industries: “Women are starting and growing busin esses at twice th e rate of their male counterparts; women-owned firms are becoming more economically substantial; and women-owned firms ar e just as financially strong and credit worthy as the average U. S. firms. The newest forms of business ownership were those in nontraditiona l industries such as construction manufacturing and tran sportation” (p. 1). Citing an article by Weeks (2001) the Center for Women’s Business Research states: “There are 6.2 million majority-owned, privately held women owned firms in the United States, representing 28 percent of all firms. Over the past five years, the numbers of women-owned firms ha ve increased 14 percent, twice the national business average of 7 perc ent…The fastest growing women’s entrepreneurship surprisingly is found among businesses that are not typically thought of as female dominated industries, such as construction, agriculture, and transportation” (p. 1). The number of all women-owned firms grew a total of 14 percent between 1997 and 2002, and the number of women-owned non-traditional businesses (agriculture, construction, manufacturing, transportation, co mmunications, and wholesale) grew by a


15 total of 17.5 percent. In comparison, the trad itional industries (retail career, finance, insurance and real estate) owned by wome n only grew by 10.4 percent. The number of female owned employer firms in non-traditi onal industries showed a 50.2 percent growth. The transportation/communications areas have shown a solid growth by rising 27.2 percent and 23.6 percent increase s respectively, in all firms in the industry, and a total of 69.4 percent and 50.6 percent increases am ong employer firms (Weeks, 2001, pp. 2-3). The fact that females are involved in a ll kinds of entrepreneurship, especially those included in non-traditional industries, is a positive step in the right direction for many reasons. First, it is very important for younger females consid ering careers in any of these areas to have mentors and role mode ls to follow because what historically was considered to be a non-traditional career fo r females a decade ago, no longer exists. Secondly, females need to feel they are bei ng given the same opportunities that males are given. What significance does this have for younger females contemplating a future career in nontraditional fields such as construction, manufacturing, automotive, agriculture, or mining? In the year 2002, “ the number of female-owned firms in nontraditional industries increased by 35.4 percent. In contrast, the number of female-owned firms in traditional industries grew by 10.4 percent during that time, but employment increased by 36.5 percent and revenues ju mped 46.7 percent” (Weeks, 2001, p. 3). (See Appendix B). Gender bias and societal infl uences led to the lack of female participation in the automotive industry. Female students did not have the opportunity to view females in such a positive way.


16 The increased participation of females in all industries helped those females who are pioneers to “break the glass ceiling.” The continui ng progress of female-owned nontraditional business firms is on the rise. The terms “traditional and non-traditional careers” likely will be relics of the past, as female-owned businesses become a visible part of the fabric of every industry” (Weeks 2001, p. 3).


17 Vocational Education Programs and the Carl D. Perkins Act Federal legislation author izing funding for vocational education programs as the Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Act, were designed to ensure that females had equal access and opportunity in vocational edu cation, as early as th e 1970s. Originally the Perkins programs included special populatio ns, such as displaced homemakers, single parents and students seeking non-traditional trai ning, the majority of them were females (American Association of Women Public Po licy Government Relations, 2004). There were many changes in 1988, due to Congress, as they were “looking for more ways to send block grant money to states so they c ould carry out the object ives of the federal program” (American Association of University Women, June 2004, p. 1). An educator has a powerful impact on a st udent’s life. Often times it can be as simple as making a positive statement of intere st regarding a particul ar career. As Burge and Culver (1996), concluded: “The willingness of vocational educat ors to be innovative in recruitment and retention activities can make a difference in women’s lives. Wrightsman and Keau (1996) pointed out that perceptions and attitudes have been assumed to guide people to adopt different vocational and life roles. In turn, educators perceptions and attitudes may have significant effects on student behavior” (As ci ted by Sheng, Rojewski, and Hall, 1996, p. 6).


18 The American Association of University Women (1992) feels that equal access to high wage skilled jobs are important. In thes e fields usually dominated by men, such as plumbing, construction or automotive, female s can prove their strengths and begin to close the difference in the wage gap. Statisti cs indicate that females who do not earn a bachelor’s degree constitute an important population group earning only 68 percent of the median income earned by male workers. To shrink the wage gap for skilled workers, participation and achievement in career a nd technical education should not be bound to gender segregation and stereotypes, harassm ent or barriers that prevent females — including single mothers, displaced homema kers, and former welfare recipients—from being self-sufficient (American Associ ation of University Women, June 2004). The better opportunities for females in the 1990s did little to improve the economic outlook especially for households he aded by females and low-income families. This outlook is because the demands are higher for a skilled labor force. The process has caused females to remain in low paying jobs and without benefits. Many females unfortunately lacked the necessary skills or training to qualify for high-wage jobs. The opportunity for females to be hired in stable positions was lost in traditionally maledominated industries because of their lack of skills. The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Act, the Higher Education Act, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconcilia tion Act are programs that play a critical role in the females’ workforce issues. There ar e several reasons for this. They include: 1) an economic slowdown, 2) a potential jobless recovery, and 3) the reauthorization of several major pieces of legisla tion affecting female workers.


19 In the last century, female workers have increased in number and greater proportion in the workforce ( Wider Opportunities for Women 2002). 1. The number of working females has grown from 5.3 million in 1900, to 18.4 million in 2001. 2. Women make up 18.3 percent of the la bor force in 1902, 29.6 percent in 1950, and 46.6 of the labor force in 2001. 3. Ninety-nine out of 100 women in the Unite d States will work for pay at some point in their lives. 4. Women make up 77 percent of the cash ier positions, 76 percent of hotel clerks, and 82 percent of maid positions. 5. Women are the 60 percent of low-wage workers and living paycheck to paycheck ( Wider Opportunities for Women 2002).


20 Career and Technical Education Career and technical education, formally known as vocation e ducation, is one of the keys to solve some of today’s problems in a competitive workforce. Career and technical education bridges the gap and teach es students valuable skills necessary for today’s labor market. The problem, however, is that many occupations, are still gender segregated. “For several decades, females seem ed to be the ‘forgotten half’ in vocational education because they have been either pr epared for occupations in homemaking or lowpay, or dead-end jobs” (Rojewski, 1996, p. 2). “This ultimately contributes to inappropriate vocational prepar ation and barriers inhibiting female participation in nontraditional programs. These female participants could otherwise benefit from a wide range of high-tech skills that offer long term employment and higher wages” (Sheng, Hall & Rojewski, 1996, p. 2). Although more females are entering traditionally male occupations, they still make up a small minor ity in male dominate d occupational training programs. Females who are considering en tering non-traditional careers, face many barriers.


21 Females Preparing for the Workforce Career preparation and school –towork programs give females an opportunity to apply the skills they learned in school to th e “real world” environment. However, schoolto-work programs often fail to deliver what they actually promise: Helping females and minorities enter programs that are nontraditional for their race and gender” (American Association of University Women, 1998). In 1994, the School-To-Work Act mandate d an increase in the number of young females preparing for non-traditional careers. In order to increase positive role models and factors that influence females in c hoosing nontraditional careers, the following National School-To-Work office strategies are recommended: 1) Include females in nontraditional occupations on advisory council s; 2) hiring females instructors in nontraditional educational areas; 3) including workshops on nontraditional employment in training institutions; 4) offe ring grant incentives for encouraging nontraditional careers in request for proposals for lo cal school-to-work initiativ es; 5) purchasing textbooks, videotapes, posters portraying females in nont raditional occupations; 6) collecting data that link occupations and ge nder; and 7) designing nont raditional occupations for program development (National School -To-Work Opportunity Office, 1996). The State Plan for the School-To-Work Opportunities Act 1994 addresses the following issues: 1) describes th e goals of the state and the methods that the state will use, such as awareness and outreach; 2) to ensure opportunities for young females to participate in school-to-work opportunity progra ms in a manner that leads to employment


22 in high performance, high paying jobs, in cluding nontraditional employment, and 3) goals to ensure an environment free from racial sexual harassment (Florida State Department of Workforce De velopment, 1998). This plan was included to make educational opportunities an “abso lute priority” as stated by the United State Department of Education. The Institute for Women in the Career s, and Technology and Science outlines the program for school-based learning. The following co mponents of the program are: 1. Outreach to female students: “to let st udents know that females can do career, technology, and science jobs and that they will be welcomed in school and work-based learning settings.” 2. Career information and advising: “It is important that career information shows females in a wide variety of careers, technology and science occupations.” 3. Females mentors: “Females in nontraditional career tracks will greatly benefit from at least one woman mentor who can advise them on such issues as establishing credibility on an all male worksite.” 4. Training for teachers and counselors: “In-service and pre-service “for overcoming the learning patterns fema les and boys often fall into the classroom that impede participation a nd education and achievement in math and science classes.”


23 5. Parent involvement: “Parents can lear n strategies that will support their daughters achievement in math and sc ience education and their pursuit of career clusters in careers, technology and science.” 6. Math and science education: “Math and science course s in the elementary and middle school years are the critical bu ilding blocks for upper level classes, school-to-work career clusters in careers, technology, science and in postsecondary math and science education” (ITTS, 1998). Females working in nontraditional careers presently must inspire younger females to pursue a nontraditional area. The modern day armed forces is a good example of many nontraditional careers for younger females as the articles from the Air Force and U.S. Navy (2006) describe. Secretary James G. Roche of the US Air Force stated to members of Women in Aviation In ternational, (WAI): "It is my great privilege this morning to join the distinguished line-up of leader and aviators, promote aviation as a career choice for women, and encourage the advancement of women in aviation fields reflects objectives that are as admirable as they are pr actical. This is a special community, and one that is held in high regard, whether you are serving in the private sector, or in the government. I am personally grateful for the role WAI plays in supporting the further de velopment of this capability. By providing resources to assist wo men aviation, and encouraging young women to consider aviation as a career choice, you continue the work of aviation's pioneers, expanding the bounda ries of flight as well as the aspirations of women who seek to slip the surly bonds and as we like to


24 say in the Air Force, ‘cross into the bl ue.’ It is my great personal honor to lead the 700,000 active, guard, reserve and civilian men and women of the Air Force. They are all ‘Airmen.’ We are one Air Force. And Our Nation remains free today as a result of th eir bravery, excellence and selfless service"( LookSmart, 2004). The Navy also offers excellent careers for women. One popular media source is, Navy Newsstand which keeps the country up to date regarding communications about the war in Iraq. On January 13, 2006, at a Naval base in VA. Rear Admiral Donald Bullard, NECC's first commander stated: "I'm proud to work the with men an d women who work in expeditionary logistics specialists, the naval coas tal warfare groups and the master-atarms forces. The TECC will also provide the 500 to 700 Sailors supporting the Army and Marine Corps in the Middle East with the proper training for these non-traditional jobs. It's time that to recognize the need of the young men and women at war and on the dirt," said Bullard ( Navy Newsstand January 2006). Women's roles in the armed forces have greatly changed since World War II, in a positive way. Younger females will have a variety of career choices of nontraditional role models to choose from as society changes thei r view of nontraditional female work roles. Hopefully the term "nontraditiona l" will become a term of th e past as we continue to educate students about choices through Career and Technical Education.


25 The Role of Education and Training for Females and for all Workers Access to education and training is importa nt for females and families to be able to support themselves. Statistic s have shown that training and educational access provides people with the skills necessary to compete in today’s job market. In the July 2002 report by the U.S. Census Bureau found that in 1999 the average annual earnings ranged from $18,900 for high school dropouts to $25,900 for high school graduates to $45,400 for college graduates, and $99,300 for holders of pr ofessional degrees This gives them career potential and upward mobility to ward a positive future (U. S. Census Bureau, July 2002). The comparison of earnings for that of a worker with a bachelor’s degree or someone with just a high school diploma “increases by about $1 million for non-Hispanic whites and about $700,000 for African Americans, Asians/Pacific Islanders and Hispanics ( Wider Opportunities for Women 2002). Data also indicates that households that are led by single females with a high school diploma are 60 percent more likely to have jobs than those without a high school diploma or equivalent ( Wider Opportunities for Women, 2002 ). On a more positive note, single females that are heads of household with an associate’s degree are 95 percent more likely to be employed ( Wider Opportunities for Women 2002). In the past, there have been many reasons why the barriers regarding female participation in non-traditional programs ar e complicated. Car eer educators could prevent females’ access to non-traditional program s. This may be based on their beliefs that vocational opportun ities are limited by gender. Educat ors transmit their gender biases


26 in classrooms, counseling situa tions, and other activities; a nd ignore or do not implement the 1990 Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act which benefits females; or use gender biased and stereotyped materials for assessment, guidance and education. Therefore, negative perceptions of in structors, counselors and administrators toward female participation in nontraditional programs can be a major barrier for females who wish to enroll in a nontraditional program.” (Cited in Sheng, Rojewski & Hall, 1996, p. 4.). Comments made by an educator working in the school system, such as, “You’d have to get dirty working as a technici an on a daily basis,” might have a negative tone of voice which indi cates to a student that her decision to enter a non-traditional field has r eceived a disapproval rating fr om the educators who are supposed to be actively recruiti ng in a positive non-biased ma nner. Historically, two year vocational programs, unfortunately, do not receiv e the respect or credit they deserve. This is an unfortunate indication of the type of negative public rela tions that is being directed, in general, from school guidance counselor s in promoting nontraditional career choices for females.


27 Females and Computer Education Does it matter if a young female does not want to play on a computer? Should she be forced? According to research, playing with computer games helps to develop an array of learning skills, such as focusi ng, concentration and problem solving. Most important, perhaps, it helps children to ac quire a familiarity and ease with technology of critical importance in the future job market (Brzowsky, 1998). According to a 1997 Bureau of Labor Statistics, th e occupations with the fastes t employment growth for the decade are computer scientists, computer engineers and systems analysts. While there are many people who feel that computers may not be of interest to females, that is simply not the case according to Roberta Furger, who wrote Does Jane Compute? Preserving Our Daughters’ Place in the Cyber Revolution. Ms. Furger states that “given the opportunity—that is the key—females demonstr ate an interest in computers time and time again (Brzowsky, 1998). According to Brzowsky (1998) females, compared to males, play just as much on the computer. An interesting point to make is that software for males and females are available for both groups. However, as fema les grow up and their interests develop games are not available. Companies do not want to take the financial risk for fear games aimed toward females will not sell. As a society, we still have the mentality of different expectations for males and females. We must change these expecta tions. Also, we still typically see science and technology activit ies as more masculine than feminine.


28 Brzowsky (1998) studied males and fema les play. “The main objection of females to existing computer games,” she says “was that they are boring. Females tend to be interested in character and story as so cial complexity in their play. They’re not drawn to speed and action or defending opponents, or high scores for their own sake or beating the clock” (p. 3).


29 The Career Selection Process Future workers will be expected to be ready and willing to learn. There are many factors that affect movement within the labo r market for groups and individuals not the least of which is how a person views the world of work and how he or she fits into this occupational identity from complex interactions of many political, family and environmental factors (Flanigan, 1995; H acker, 1992; Harter, 1990; Steinberg, 1989). The knowledge of students’ aspirations plays an important role in the education planning process regardless of the philosophical underpinnings that drive the program development process. On the other hand, the developmental perspective of Dewey yields an education system grounded in a philosophy of teaching the individua l that is generally accepted as one of the keys to optimal deve lopment of all persons (Mosher, 1995; Venn, 1996). Human development is the objective of education in this system (Swortel, 1998). The process of choosing a career or an o ccupation is important within each of these competing frameworks and is heavily influenced by background and attributes such as race and gender (Harter, 1992; Steinberg, 1998). However, many educators, including this author believe that human development rath er than efficiency is the ultimate standard for evaluating educational productivity (Johnson, 1994). Harter (1990) and Steinber g (1998) believe there are cert ain factors that influence females and teens, their overall interests a nd nontraditional careers. This provides useful information for future planning of car eer education and post secondary programs especially those that targ et nontraditional students.


30 In a study conducted by researchers Ka plan and Farrell (1994) entitled Weavers of Webs: A Portrait of Young Women on the Net, those questions such as why females seek electronic spaces, what they articulate as their aims, expectations and desires; how females make their electronic communicati on practices meaningful to themselves by investigating a small community of adolescent females. Many studies have shown male particip ation out number females, and male participation dominates female in most elect ronic environments, where the participation of females is remarkable for its vigo r (Selfe & Meyer, 1991; Herring, Johnson & DiBenedetto, 1992). These professional female s who have actively participated in the network culture confirm the following: Female s feel frequently ignored, silenced, even abused in electronic conversations (Kaplan & Farrell, 1994). The studies tell us what keeps females from fully participating in electronic communication. One author describes a “fear of the intimate machine.” Kaplan and Farrell (1994) make several valid points abou t others who have conducted research in this area regarding electronic comm unication. Studies often disregard that many females are determined to pursue computers no matter what kind of barriers they find. The research has concentrated mainly on communication prac tices of professional females in schools, at the elementary and secondary level. Mo re research needs to be conducted on females in electronic discourse when participation occurred outside of the formal education setting.


31 Recent Trends in Female Career Opportunities The goal of education is to provide opportunities to gain skills, knowledge, information and attitudes that prepare student s for the real adult world. In order to achieve this purpose educators should follow clear goals that communicate equality for all. By providing an environment that has a climate of equitable learning, students need to become informed about the career choices available to them, which prepare them for the changing roles at home and in the diverse work place. Policy makers and researchers contin ue to maintain the importance of encouraging nontraditional career choices when seeking to raise educational standards and occupational outcomes (Burnett, Huh, & Rolling, 1996). Numerous benefits are associated with employment in nontraditional positions, including higher wages than traditional occupations, flexible work schedules, increased job security and more personal fulfillment (U. S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau, 1991). However, traditional attitudes about “men’s” and “women’s” j obs often bring individuals who make nontraditional vocational choices into a hostile working environment. Numerous activities have been initiated in attempt to change this situation by working toward attracting more individuals into nontradi tional occupations (Burnett, Huh, & Rolling, 1996). Gender inequities remain despite legisl ation that prohibits sex discrimination. Maraskin (1998) reported that the results of years of effo rt regarding gender equity with too little progress have even led to cynici sm and ambivalence toward these issues. The


32 persistent negative attitude s have kept future students from progressing into nontraditional career options. The combination of the burden of society’s barriers, sex discrimination, and many years of legislation calls our attention not only to sex equity issues, but to more nontraditi onal vocational and technical ed ucation programs for these students. This will introduce vocational and t echnical education to females and help them make more informed career choices. If mo re females were employed as agricultural teachers, technical teachers or technology education young teachers, females and teens would have female role models as influen ces when they are choosing a career path. Vocational education has made the “eliminati on of sex bias and stereotyping a national priority in vocational education for many years” (Rojewski, 1996).


33 Female Choices Females have begun to make strides towa rd greater economic equity after fighting for women’s rights. Technology has become an increasingly important part of everyday life—business, government, and the economy. Th e greater use of technology implies that if females are going to continue to move toward increased economic strength, they will have to incorporate the use of technological skills as part of their power base (Brzowsky, 1998; Pazy, 1994; Spender, 1995; U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,). Since technology is considered a nontraditional field, it should be noted that according to Smith (2000): Females are only 16 percent of all scientists, si x percent of all engine ers, and four percent of all computer scientists. In addition, females hold less than 15 percent of professional jobs that require a college degree in ma th, science, and/or technology (Goff, 1997; Hucthinson & King, 1994; McLean, 1996, U. S. Bu reau of Labor Statistics (1997).


34 Female Gender In the report, “Gender Gaps: Where Schools Still Fail Our Children” (1999), researchers explored what changes have been made that have affected the education of female students. The research outlines the following positive and negative outcomes: 1. Females have made great strides in ed ucation and probably receive a fairer education today than in 1992. 2. Gender gaps in areas such as math and science have narrowed; some favoring males and some favoring females have persisted or emerged. 3. For females—an equitable education is an elusive goal—out of reach. (p. 2) 4. According to research, high school females and males take similar numbers of science courses; males are more likely th an females to take three core science courses—biology, chemistry, and physics by graduation (American University of Women, 1999). 5. A marked gender gap persists in physi cs, where females’ enrollments lag behind males’. 6. In math and science, a large portion of males rather than females receives top scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), a national representative test of specific subjec t knowledge given to students in the 4th, 8th, and 12th grades. The gender gap increases with the grade level. On the other hand, African American females, however, match or outscore African American males at every assessment point.


35 7. Scores on the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (19951996), an achievement test given to half a million fourth, eighth, and twelfth grade students in forty-one nations rev ealed a gender gap in math and science that increased with age. By the 12th grade, males outscored females. 8. From 1990 to 1994 female enrollment in advanced placement courses and honors calculus and chemistry classe s improved relatively to males’ enrollment. Physics was an exception, al ong with scoring as well as the males on the Advanced Placement exam (Ame rican Association of University Women, 1999, p. 3).


36 The Progress Made by Females in Math, Science, and Technology In a research study c onducted by Pell (1996), Fixing the Leaky Pipeline: Women Scientists in Academia, despite the number of females that has increased receiving their doctorates over the past twenty years, fe males unfortunately are under-represented on university facilities. The reasons for these inequities are: the retention of women in science, early childhood, adolescence, college, and the graduate school/job entry period. The study mentions difficulties that females face in balancing career and family responsibilities. The study also notes the importance of effective networking and mentoring at the faculty level to keep female a dolescents involved in math and science. The research has shown that, “females come to class and see math as something men do.” They don’t perform well when they alr eady have this point of view. In the area of science, evidence shows that males are mo re familiar in school and out of school with the overall subject matter. “One study of science classrooms found that 79 percent of all student assisted science demonstrations were carried out by males” (American Association of University Women, 1998). Wh en females pursue science courses, they do not receive enough guidance or encouragement to pursue scientific ca reers. Sixty-four percent of the males who had taken physics and calculus were planning to major in science and engineering in co llege, compared to only 18.6 percent of the females who had taken the same subjects. Studies repor t that support from teachers, and school administrators can make a big difference. In addition, a major factor in whether or not


37 females choose scientific or technological car eers depends on whether they have teacher support.


38 What the Research Reveals from the Classroom At the preschool level, edu cators tend to organize activit ies that will attract males’ interests, which often allow them to excel in certain classes or pr esentations, and those “student-teacher interaction patterns in sc ience classes are often particularly biased” (American Association of University Wome n, 1992). “Even in math classes, where biased classes are found,” psychologist Jacque lynne Eccles reports th at select males in each math class she studied received particul ar attention to the exclusion of all other students. The research suggest s that females and males lear n better when they take on projects and activities in a c ooperative learning atmosphere, in like fashions rather than in a competitive manner, like physics. “Shortchanging Females” (2002) tell us that females do not come into the school systems with th e same amount of conf idence and self-esteem as males (American Associati on of University Women). The 1990 American Association of Univer sity Women poll documents report that females have “a loss of self-confidence that is twice that for males as they move from childhood to adolescence.” (p.6)


39 Technology and Gender According to theories in the article, “The Women’s Way of Knowing” (1999), if females and men think and learn differently in the classroom as educators, then we need to address those differences. Th is is especially true in th e areas of technology education, where there is a severe shortage of fema les. Zuga’s (1999) theory suggests that technology educators have not examined the philosophy and psychology of female thinking to learn how to be more inclusiv e of females in both technology education and creating technology. The manner in which all educators ap proach technology, math and science can improve their delivery during teaching as we ll as positively influence females. Educators should organize their ac tivities so they are attractive to female students along with the “value and purpose of technology and the way in which it is taught must be changed” (Zuga, 1999). Females need a better understanding in the classroom and an explanation about career and technical education. Females ar e often frustrated within a technology classroom because females often state they tell their teachers they do not understand things, however, most teachers do not explain and help students learn how to do things. Some students need a more specific degree of higher explanation than others. Technology teachers need to experiment with creativ e ways to communicate their ideas about technology in a variety of learni ng activities so that teachers can continue to break down


40 the gender barriers for females in science and technology, which will improve the nontraditional workforce. Gender-gaps from various subject areas in schools indicate ho w females are still behind in terms of performance. The AAU W 1992 report, “How Schools Shortchange Females,” calls upon various state, local, and na tional leaders, to take action to “provide equitable treatment for females in public school s.” There are many questions that need to be addressed when gender is researched. Two important issues that must be looked at when one examines the issue of females’ eq uity in education: The use of classroom technology and teacher professional development. Our society and workforce have made it clear that technology is an exclusive all-male profession, which intimidates females and therefore, creates barriers. Educators must be sensitive to this issue, as well as the issues females face from working in nontraditio nal careers in the automotive industry, construction, manufacturing, tec hnology, or agriculture. Educators have to be careful about negative views or opinions, which inad vertently will influence females into not pursuing nontraditional careers. Doing this, at any school age greatly discourages them from a challenging nontraditional career. In addition, this does not help various employers fill their critical shortage areas w ith workers in the job market (AAUW, 1998).


41 The Impact of Role-Modeling on Women’s Career Choices In the article, Evaluating Progress in Gender Equity in Careers for Women in Science and Technology: the Impact of Ro le Modeling on Women’s Career Choices Norby (1997) discusses research involving une qual representation of females in science and technology. She stresses students’ scientif ic elementary skills, but notes how their skills decline as they enter high school or college. Negative teacher behaviors, along with sex-role and stereotyping have affect ed young female attitudes about their future success in any careers that have been cons idered nontraditional or “masculine.” Role modeling has been an important means to encourage young females to choose careers in technology and science. Career choice, for many individuals in our society, is a sociological issue (Brooks-Gunn & Sc hempp-Matthews, 1979). Many young people choose careers by that for which they believe th ey or their parents can afford to finance training. Some choose careers based primarily on how much time they want to have for family and leisure activities, especial ly young women (Richmond-Abbott, 1983). Role modeling is a sociological area of influen ce, which can be used to encourage young women to choose science, and technology re lated careers in great er numbers (Smith, 1983). Educators have an important influe nce on this area, both positively and negatively. Research has shown that young wome n must be encouraged in science and technology careers by the time they reach their middle school years, in order to acquire a sufficient science and mathematics bac kground. Science careers require adequate mathematics and science background for the st udent entering an engineering or physical


42 science course of study. Girls, who are disc ouraged from taking mathematics and science courses in middle and high school, reach co llege with an accumulated disadvantage (Smith, 1983). Norby (1997) collected data on issues re lated to women in technology careers and developed a short survey on Role Models and Career Choices based on a previous questionnaire used with hi gh school girls (Smith, 1983). The following questions and answers showed the following results: Question 1: What was the single most important influence on your interest and achievements in science or technology? required a descriptive answer. The answers included individuals, male or female, such as the respondent's father, who frequently was in a technical field himself, an older sister, or a characteristic of th e respondent, such as "insatiable curiosity," need for economic i ndependence, or fun playing with technical projects. One respondent indicated that her father was a nurse, a nd that he had been especially helpful in encouragement to seek a goal, which might not be typical of her gender. For Question 2: Do you think Role Models help women pursue and achieve successful careers in technology?, 90 percent of the individu als who did reply, responded that a role model was important in influencing them to choose and maintain an interest in a career in science or technology. The results of this survey paralleled the results of the author's doctoral dissertation, which show ed that young women who choose science and technology related careers are much more likely to have identified a role model in their life (Smith, 1983). It is of speci al interest to note that Smith found that the gender of the role model is not as important as is the posit ive nature of the interaction between the role


43 model and the young woman. The important quality of the role model was that she or he was positive, encouraging and supportive in the relationship with the young woman. The following is a selected, more extensive answer to Question 2, and illustrates the need to provide role modeling in technology and science career areas where young women are still a small minority of the total population: "Most certainly. I have spent 5 semest ers in engineering classes with an average of 3 women out of 30 in a cl ass. None of my professors are female. Very few show concern for gende r issues. It is difficult for me to attend classes regularly. Though I am cap able of excelling, I feel apathetic about the learning process. Sometimes attending labs makes me physically sick. The only thing that keeps me going is my pre-membership in our local AAUW (American Association of University Women) chapter. Seeing these women, where they are in their lives, how strong they are, consistently inspires me to pull through." Question 3: How would you define "role model", related to the respondents' personal definition of a role model, and tended to indicate a person, of either gender, who exhibited admirable traits to the individual, or who had encouraged and supported her in her training and interests in science and technology. For Question 4: Is the gender of the role model important?, 86 percent of the respondents believe that the gender of the role model is not important, although a few said that they believe that it helps to see women in roles where men have traditionally been the only examples.


44 In response to Question 5: What was your age when you chose a career in science or technology?, most of the respondents made the deci sion to pursue a career in science or technology when they were in their early teens. However, one remarkable respondent indicated that she made her decision when sh e was sixty years of age, reminding us that lifelong learning implies that we can become accomplished in new areas later in life than traditional stereotypes would suggest! For Question 6a: Was your mother employed in a scientific/technology career? only 19 percent of the responde nts replied that their moth ers had been employed in a scientific/technology career. This reflects a continuing practice th at started at the end of World War II, in the United States, when wo men were sent back home to make room for the returning male work force (Historical Sta tistics of the U.S., Pa rt 1, 1970). When the work force needs technical labor, then women have been encouraged into work, but when males are available, only a few exceptional women are able to maintain employment in traditionally male dominated, higher paid fields. In response to Question 6b, Was any other family memb er employed in such a career? 71 percent of the respondents answered that they had had another family member who had been employed in a scien ce/technology related ca reer. Of those who answered yes, three said that the gender of that person was female. Twelve reported a male family member in a science or technology related career. Question 7 asked for general comments on the topic of women in scientific and technical careers. What follows is a note worthy, verbatim quotation from one woman's answer:


45 "Yes. I believe that there are still a great number of men in scientific and technical careers that don't respect their female coworkers or employees. However, I find that this respec t can be earned through hard work, dedication, and fighting for what you deserve without making personal attacks. I think too many women in th e workplace feel that they deserve respect just because they are pres ent and accounted for. No woman is owed a career or career advancement. The men earn theirs, we must earn ours. And if there are still some men who create a hostile environment, then we file a formal complaint, talk to their supervisors, and if that doesn't work... find another job. I want equal rights, not special rights." An issue revealed by this response is in the author's opinion, a common theme relating to women in the workplace. First, wo men workers do not want special treatment, only fair treatment. Most women want an opportunity to be judged for their ability, regardless of gender, and, to obtain equal pa y for equal work. And, tangentially, there is the issue of the "Queen Bee Syndrome", wh ere some sort of unde rlying resentment by women already in the workplace, of other wome n who share that workplace, is very hard to eradicate. More than women judge men's be havior, there is an unf ortunate tendency for women to judge other women's behavior, a nd to apply more demanding standards that require that another woman work even harder th an a man to "earn her stripes" (Dr. Millie Graham, personal communication). The final questions on the survey were intended to obtain demographic data. The average age of the respondents was 38, w ith the maximum being 60, and the minimum age 21. Respondents included individuals from the northeastern United States, the South,


46 the Midwest, two individuals at University of Wyoming who are stud ents in the physical sciences, both graduate and undergraduate, a nd three from outside the United States— Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Spectrums of educational levels were represented, includ ing the 21-year-old undergraduate, and a Ph.D. who is also a "do cent". Most of the respondent's degrees were in engineering or physical a nd biological sciences, with one reporting a bachelor's and master's degree in business. Responses to the question on marital status included individuals who are single, one who indicated that she is planning never to marry, married, married with children, and living with significant other but not married. As previously mentioned, the percentage of responses to this survey was small, due to the time frame for retu rning replies. One respondent re quested that the author fax her the survey, as her computer screen "scrolled too fa st" for her to respond by E-mail. Other factors include the time of year (T hanksgiving and Christmas holidays), when many individuals are not reading their E-mail and responding immediately, and, of course, the fact that this was a voluntary survey. Possibl y the respondents were selfselected to some extent by f eeling more confident with th e technology than those who did not respond. The good news is that there is a directory of professional women where individuals in technology can be identifie d, and where individuals can find support, information and inspiration, hopefully even some form of validation. Communication can help resolve feelings of isolation, and provide the assurance that ot her women are finding careers that allow them to fulfill their potential.


47 Characteristics of Nont raditional Occupations Females choose careers for many different reasons. According to a survey conducted by Schroedel (1998), a group of fe males in nontraditional occupations were asked “open-ended” questions about what attracted them to these occupations. The answer was “the money.” This answer was gi ven by 72 percent of the group. This is not a surprising answer given the fact that females work for a wage almost twice the national average of other female workers at the time of the interview (Florida State Department of Education, 1998). Twenty-four percent said th at the factors that influenced them in choosing this career was the idea of worki ng with their hands, being able to work outdoors, as well as the satisfaction of cr eating a product. Resear ch indicates that nontraditional jobs allow females to better suppo rt their families. Research conducted in a profile of successful females workers in nontraditional occupations included the following characteristics: Love of learning Willingness to take on new challenges Interest in working with one’s hands Interest in seeing concrete products of one’s work Desire to earn higher wages and benefits ( Workplace Solutions, 1998) In good physical health and fitness Need to earn more that $6.00 pe r hour for self and family Need access to health care and other benefits


48 Willingness to explore new things, new places, new people ( Illinois Women in the Careers, 1998). “In 1992, females who maintained families also had lower median weekly earnings than other single earner-families.” (U.S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau). In addition, the Females Bureau of the Department of Labor reports the following information: 1. Family households headed by female s had the lowest income in 1991-$16,692 compared to a married couple with $40, 995. 2. Families earned $28,351 (maintained by men). 3. White females had a median income of $19,547. 4. Black families had an income of $11,414. 5. Hispanic families had an income of $12,132 (U.S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau (1993, p.11).


49 Females and Minorities in Apprenticeships in Florida The Bureau of Job Training Apprenticeshi p Section in the Florida Department of Labor reported on December 15, 1998 that there were 14,572 active registered apprentices in Florida. These programs had 10 percent females in traditional areas, such as child care and health, as well as the nontraditional apprenticeships ; 29 percent belong to a minority including 16 per cent African American and 12 percent Hispanic. (FL DOE, 1998). The individual females involved in the va rious apprenticeships in a program that consisted of daily training that involved, teaching structured skills, and on the job practical work experience. Fl orida’s apprenticeship programs were graduating more than 300 individuals a month” (Jamerson, 1998). Susan Eisenberg (1998) the author of We’ll Call You If We Need You—Women of Working Construction has called females in the build ing career “permanent pioneers.” During a report on the television new program, 60 Minutes Lesley Stahl reported on a story entitled, Hard and Heavy regarding some interesting statistics about females in various careers. These statistics include : 1) almost one-third of all lawyers and doctors in America are now females, 2) twenty percent of police officers are females, and 3) but you’d still have to look under a lot of ha rd hats before you’d find a woman in construction site (FL D.O.E., 1998). In the 1970s reports regarding female s working in the construction careers indicated at that time that females in this field were fewer than two percent. Two decades later it has changed by just over two pe rcent (Hartman, 1998). Females represent 2.7


50 percent of journey workers in construction ca reers according to the U. S. Department of Labor. There are important reasons females and minorities are und errepresented in traditionally male, skilled blue-collar jobs. First, a female in low paying jobs is a “social problem.” Low paying jobs given to females creates poverty. Integrating females into high paying jobs without college degrees; and traditionally male jobs would be a major step toward rectifyi ng this problem. Laws affecting workforce development and welfare reform under Florida’s Welfare Reform Act, Work and Gain Econom ic Self-Sufficiency (WAGES) registered apprenticeships would fulfill the “work first” requirement and combine training and education in a work program (Florida Stat e Department of Workforce Development, 1998). The following activities may be used und er Florida’s Welfare Reform Act, Work and Gain Economic Self-Sufficiency (W AGES): a) unsubsidized employment, b) subsidized private sector employment, incl uding the public sector, grant diversion and on the job training, c) community service work expe rience, d) work experience, e) job search and job readiness, f) vocational education or training related to employment, g) job skills training related to employment, h) education services for part icipants 19 years of age or younger coordinated with school to work program, i) attendan ce at a high school or GED for participants 19 years of age or younger, j) the provisions of ch ild care services by a WAGES participant for another WAGES person who is participating in community service work experience. Many welfare recipients do not meet th e prerequisites to enter a registered apprenticeship program. What would help this problem is a pre-apprenticeship to bridge


51 this gap in terms of education, traini ng, and employability skills. Many females on welfare are pursuing a second career in anot her area of employmen t and education. “A second chance program would select occupati ons substantial enough to provide adequate incomes, fund training sufficient to pr epare them, and required performance commensurate with success (Levitan & Magum, 1998 p. 230).


52 Conclusion In summary, I have come to understand the significance of the studies about females and nontraditional careers. Females n eed a better understanding and explanation of male dominant traditional jobs. Female s who obtain a bachelor’s degree with the desire to achieve a higher-lev el position in a traditionally male career have often been frustrated. It is important that the profile of nontraditional females begin to change, we need for technology educators and policy makers to understand the role of nontraditional females in traditionally male jobs. Educators must provide a new percepti on about nontraditional careers. This would help traditional males to eliminate some of the gender stereot ypes as it relates to nontraditional females. One example of this would be a female working in a welder position. Encouraging women to consider nontr aditional careers is the responsibility of schools, employers, and community leaders. They can help females in nontraditional roles assess their transfer able skills, interests, and attitude s. It is imperative that we as educators and leaders provide resources and information about the various nontraditional careers for females. A good example is to help them prepare a resume that reflects nontraditional training. Our female teachers w ho teach nontraditional subjects must serve as role models along with government officials and political leaders. If we are going to be successful in he lping educators and leaders to understand nontraditional careers, then the learning proce ss must state at the elementary level. The learning process will help schools identify th e important roles of nontraditional careers.


53 In order to raise academic standards a nd to provide opportunities for nontraditional careers, then our workforce must be ready to elevate their ideas about traditional versus nontraditional occupations. Strategies for the school system were involved in the following components, which will produce a better understanding of nontraditional careers: School-based learning is one activity th at will enable care er counselors and academic leaders to provide a movement toward vocational participation as a significant part of classroom learning. Work-based learning is the key for pr actical experiences that are learned through internship, throu gh job-shadowing, employment, and apprenticeship programs. Activity connection is the main link be tween education and the business community, such as the automotive industry, and the armed forces. If the professional training offered by the U.S. Navy or the Marines is going to embrace nontraditional careers for females, their training services must reflect a willingness to accept females in all nontraditio nal roles. In order for the U.S. Navy to meet its goals, the training must include non-gender biased training and communicate the willingness to receive females in combat duty, and nontraditional careers. Gender integration has proven to be a positive affect and has raised the professional level of standards as it relates to women in nontraditional careers. According to Rombough (2000), militar y or females seeking nontraditional careers have had expectati ons placed on them to perfor m greater than their male


54 counterpart. One way to resolve this issue is to develop new policie s that would include standards for nontraditional females. Challenges facing nontraditional females in male related careers are: gender bias, acceptance by male peers, and the perception of their ability to be successful. Those three barriers often put pressure and make it difficu lt for nontraditional females to function in a nontraditional male environment. The educational curriculum and its langua ge need to incorp orate nontraditional careers and diversity for the nontraditional female. This perception would provide the educational system with the ability to serv e traditional and nontraditional careers. It will not be enough to equip men with technol ogical skills, as more families depend on nontraditional females for their survival needs. It is the educators’ role to incorpor ate and encourage growth and ideas about nontraditional careers and help to change te aching practices in a traditional setting. Nontraditional educators must continue thei r efforts to eliminate gender stereotyping related to occupational decision-making and to emphasize the importance of nontraditional careers for females. Traditional educators must begin to rethink its position and philosophy as it relates to nontraditi onal careers. Technology and vocational educators cannot alone right soci etal ills such as the underrepresentation of females in nontraditional careers. We as educators must begin to teach male and female equally in technology and diversity. Ultimately learning is a shared proce ss, which requires cooperation from nontraditional and traditional environments If technology along with nontraditional careers is going to work, we must see the impact it has on learning and growth. This


55 requires educators, administrators, and policy makers to be engaged in the process and work toward making learning a success. While progress has been made within the last decade regarding nontraditional careers and prog rams for females, the research suggests that further improvement in the education sy stem is needed. Based on the research, here are some recommendations: 1. To revise technology and science by including more opportunities in nontraditional careers for females. 2. The individual measurement of interest and aptitude should be part of an ongoing process for traditional careers as well as nontraditional careers. 3. Job awareness and exploration are impor tant for the workforce preparation process. This recommendation is ex tremely important to nontraditional careers for females. 4. Changes in the political structure and legislation have created more opportunities in the labor market, but the male population is still controlling it. 5. Educators have a responsibility to introduce nontraditional and traditional careers in the curriculum. We must provide nurturing to female students’ dreams and allow them to think beyond their immediate surroundings. 6. Educators must be advocates for females entering nontraditional careers and develop methods to help them overcom e the barriers in the workplace. 7. The business community needs to have an in depth discussion about the benefits and barriers for females worki ng in nontraditional jobs. For example, what are the entry-level wages and career advancement opportunities?


56 8. Educate business and community partners in ways to encourage females to participate in school-to-work activitie s, which are designed for nontraditional careers. 9. Provide females seeking nontraditional ca reer with the necessary experiences and tools to be used in a male traditional field. 10. Provide teachers, educators, and gui dance counselors with appropriate experiences in career explora tion in nontraditional training. The key to our future success depends on our ability to accept nontraditional female roles in the military, business, industry, education, technology and government. We need highly motivated, skilled, and trained men and women prepared for the challenge in the workplace. It is wonderf ul to know that our nation’s young men and women in nontraditional careers are making a significant contribution to the challenges that lie ahead.


57 References Anderson, J. (2003). Industry focus. The Automotive Industry Retrieved on March 21, 2004. ndustryfocus/automotive2.html Brooks-Gunn, J., & Schempp-Matthews, W. (1979). He and she How children develop their sex-role identity Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Braundy, M. (Summer, 2004). Dewey’s technological literacy: Past, present, and future. Journal of Industria l Teacher Education Vol. 41, No. 2. Brzowsky, S. (1998). Are females being shor tchanged? The Center for Research on Parallel Computation at Rice University. Parade Magazine Feb. 8, 1998. Retrieved July 27,2005. newsArchive/parade_2_8_98.html Delaney, L. (2002). Women entrep reneurs take on the world. Enterprising Women Retrieved April 17, 2004 http://www.enterprisingfemales.com_world.htm/ Farmer & O’Lawrence, (2002). Differences in characteristics of pos t-secondary technical studies in Pennsylvania community college and two-year proprietary institutions. Journal of Career and Technical Education. Vol. 18, No. 2. Gaona, J. (Summer, 2004), The effects of no chil d left behind act on career and technical education: Implications for students with special needs. Journal of Industrial Teacher Education. Vol. 41, No. 2. Gender gaps where schools st ill fail our children. (1998 ). American Association of University Women Educational Foundation. Retrieved December 12, 2005 p. 2. How schools shortchange females. (1992). American Association of University Women Educational Foundation. Retrieved December 3, 2005 Growth is key focus for all women entrepreneurs. (Aug. 2003) Los Angeles Business Journal Retrieved April 14, 2004 _dls/m5072/34_25/107255172/pl/article.jhtml


58 Kaplan, N. & Farrell, E. (1994). Weavers of webs: A portrait of young on the net. The Arachnet Electronic Journal on Virtual Cultural, Vol. 2, No. 3. Retrieved July 29, 2005 /Computing/Articles+ResearchPaper/ LaPlant, M. P. & Carlson, D. (1996). Disabilities in the United States: Prevalence and causes. 1992. Disability Statisti c Report (7). Washington, D. C.: National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Lanius, C. (2001) Females interested in computers Retrieved July 27, 2005 100 leading women in the auto industry – 2000. (2004). Automotive News Retrieved March 19, 2004 Http:// p. 2. Navy expeditionary combat command stands up. (2006). NavyNewstand Retrieved June 15, 2006 etype=1 Norby, R.F. (1997). Evaluating progress in gender equity in careers for women in science and technology: The impact of role modeling on women’s career choices. Research Study, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming. Pell, A. N. (1996). Fixing the leaky pipeline: Wo men Scientists in Academia, Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y. Rombough, J. (2000). Military Women and Combat Retrieved July 3. 2006 Family/Julia/5030text.htm Rough manhood: the aggressive and confrontational shop cult ure of U. S. automotive workers during World War II (2002) Retrieved April 4, 2004 _dls/m2005/1_36/92587332/print.jhtml Schmidt, E. (Sept., 1999) Program steers fema les toward job as automotive mechanic. JS online. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved April 13, 2004 Sheng, Rojewski & Hall (Fall, 1996). Percep tions held by vocational educators toward female participation in non-traditional programs. Journal of Vocational and Technical Education, 13(1), pp. 2-4. Smith, R.F. (1983) The investigation of role models and women's choices of science related careers. Doctoral Dissertation. Atlant a: Georgia State University.


59 Sunkin, E. (2001). Trends and traits of today’s technicians: The 2001 professional automotive technician survey Retrieved April 17, 2004 ditorial/us/us30130.htm Talent is being rec ognized, rewarded. (2004). Automotive News Retrieved March 15, 2004. ID=97 Truby, M. (2000). Diversity gives Ford a new look. The Detroit News Retrieved March 15, 2004 s/2000/nasser/diversity/diversity.htm Vocational education in the Unite d States: The early 1990s. (1996) National Center for Educational Statistics Retrieved November 19, 2005. orkplace_literacy/research_reports/336 Weatherford, D. (2004). Real women of Tampa and Hillsborough County from prehistory to the millennium. University of Tampa Press: Tampa, Fl., pp. 257260, 296-297. Weeks, J. R. (2002). Breaking new ground: Th e growth of females in “non-traditional industries.” Enterprising Females. Retrieved April 17, 2005 http://www.enterprisingfem p.1-3. Wider opportunities for women, education and training federa l policy issues for the 108th congress (2002). Retrieved on November 19, 2005 Women in the air force—An unbroken tradition of excellence (2004). LookSmart Retrieved June 15, 2006 http://www/ p/artic;es/mi_m0PDU/is_2004_March 12/ai_n6049744/print Zuga, Karen F. (1999). Addre ssing women’s ways of knowing to improve the technology education environment for all students. Journal of Technical Education 10(2). p. 11. Retrieved December 3, 2005. ejournals/JTE/v10n2/zuga.html


60 Appendices


61 Appendix A: Tables and Figures Table 1. Growth in Women-Owned Firms by Industry (1997-2002) All Firms Employer Firm Growth in Employment Growth in Sales 14.3 37.0 30.0 40.0 17.5 50.2 22.9 35.4 Agriculture 27.2 69.4 74.8 104.3 Mining -21.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 Construction 35.5 71.6 69.9 94.3 Manufacturing 2.8 27.1 -2.1 4.6 Transportation Communications 23.6 50.6 10.6 28.7 Public Utilities Wholesale Career 3.2 36.7 19.9 33.3 10.4 35.6 36.5 46.7 Retail Career 7.8 26.9 31.3 39.1 Finance, Insurance 14.4 43.7 -11.5 29.4 Real Estate 10.6 39.3 43.9 58.1 Note: Numbers are percent change. 1997-2002. Source: Center for Women’s Business Re search, Women-Owned Businesses in 2002: Trends in the U. S. and 50 States, based on data from the U. S. Census Bureau.


62 Appendix A (Continued) Figure 1. “Non-Traditional” Wome n-Owned Firms Growing Faster 14.3 10.4 17.5 37 35.6 50.2 0 10 20 30 40 50 60All Firms Traditional Industry Non-Traditional% Change 1997-2002 All Firms Employer Firms Source: Center for Women’s Business Res earch, Women-Owned Businesses in 2002: Trends in the U.S. and 50 States, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Women in non-traditional careers
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ABSTRACT: In a traditional male dominated field such as construction, and automotive technology, artificial barriers and attitudes have often prevented qualified females from reaching their full potential. The late entrance of females into these fields has created very few role models for nontraditional younger females entering these professions. This study was designed to create a profile for nontraditional females working in a male dominated work force. A large percentage of females have experienced some barriers due to discrepancies in gender performance. Acceptance by peers, community and administrators, combined with the challenge of balancing family and career appears to be areas of concern for nontraditional females.
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