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Akua's avatar

Non-Traditional Employment for Women?

Asked by Akua (4730points) June 24th, 2015

Merry Meet to all,
Are there any women here who work in a non-traditional work environment?
When I say non-traditional I mean like construction, mechanics, demolition, plumbing, carpentry, electrical, welding or carpentry? I’m taking a training course here in NYC that focuses on training women for employment in fields that are dominated by men. I have some questions and would like real advice on how, as a woman, I can be successful in this field and I would like to get some of the different experiences, good and bad, that the women have had. How long did you work in the field? What made you venture into these areas of employment? How did you get started? Were the men open to having you on the sites? How did you fit all your hair under the hard hat? Pros and cons. I start apprenticeship training tomorrow morning and I am SO nervous. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.

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6 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I have a really good female friend that is an engineer. I think she’s damn good at it, but she runs into guys who think she’s out of her league because she’s a woman. I try to support her as much as I can, and listen when she needs to vent. But there are guys out there that will be threatened by you because you’re not one of the guys. But if you can rise above the Neanderthals go for it.

snowberry's avatar

I was an ARMY cook in my younger years. They were all convinced that there was only one reason a woman would join the military and that’s because they were unable to get “some” at home, if you get my drift.

I had to work harder than the men in my unit to prove I could do the job. My sergeant was amazed to find that not only did I know my way around a kitchen, I actually worked hard.

ibstubro's avatar

Is there still a “traditional” employment for women?

Pick something that sounds like you might like it.
Me? My nature is that I’d much rather work with electricity (where you get a little jolt if you do wrong) than plumbing (where you have to be all done, and then start tracing a drip.)

Success depends on you. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses, and balance them against the list of jobs.

Isn’t there some kind of counselor available?

ibstubro's avatar

Can you give us an update?

Akua's avatar

Hi guys! Just a quick update after my first week of construction training! I live 2½ hours away from the program, so, I have been renting a room in the city from my father-in-law and staying there during the week. I’m up at 4:30am and out the door by 6am. All day we go between brute labor (walking up and down stairs and up and down the block carrying 45 – 63 pound buckets of cements on our shoulders, caring piping and just ridiculously heave loads), or in a class learning trades math, building three-wall structures outside in the elements, push-ups and last but not least being taught how to act on a construction site full of men who will not welcome our presence. This first week was HARD! I have cuts, bruises, blisters everywhere and oh do I hurt. But I love it so far. I come home looking like a dirty little kid and my body aches but I come home smiling and singing and feeling like a rock star! It’s a challenge and I’m meeting the best women I have ever met in my life. Strong, independent, funny and caring women who are not catty and mean, just supportive. I learned I cannot get into the electrical union here with a GED. They want college level algebra and I have failed every college Algebra exam I have taken. So now I’m focusing on Carpentry, Laborer, Green Building and maybe plumbing. I will be back with weekly updates. Thanks to all you guys for listening and helping. I will accept any good advice for making training easier, or even ideas on areas within construction that I can focus on; like sheet rock, roofing or Hazmat… xoxox

ibstubro's avatar

I’m liking Green Building. I don’t see how the field can do anything but *blow-out!”. Potentially rewarding field both financially and environmentally.

Thanks for the update.

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