Trades and college fields that tended to be dominated by males were plumbing, air conditioning and refrigeration, and construction electrician.

Tapping the Community
Expanding Career Options for Young Women

The Need to Expand Career Ideas through Role Modeling

Career opportunities for girls are perceived as limited by both girls and the society around them. Young women are socialized into a limited number of occupations, which are often low paying. Well paying and satisfying employment is something all girls must consider, as women are likely to be in the workforce for 30 to 50 years, often supporting children as single parents.

Teachers and guidance counselors generally come from a background which values university education over trades of technical training. providing examples of trades and technical careers gives students a broader picture of the variety of occupations available, and of other paths such as apprenticeship and college.

Boys often have greater access to these occupations, as they are encouraged to engage in related hobbies and to take shop courses. Boys have role models outside of schools in that men are quite visible in these occupations, and within schools as most math, science and shop teachers are male.

Girls do not have the same opportunities for the hands-on exploration of tool skills to inspire their interest and provide the confidence to enjoy high school ship courses. Girls still tend to drop math and do not take elective shop courses, further decreasing options open to them.

Role Modeling Works

Girls receive many double messages about what women can and cannot do - and many are about the world of work. Girls are told that women can be truck drivers or electricians or builders - but they do not see women in those positions. Using WITT women as role models changes that double message, and:
  1. provides real world examples of women doing interesting work
  2. allows girls to identify with and visualize becoming what they choose.

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