Non-Traditional Careers
»»»»»»»»Myths and Facts

Myth: Certain jobs are "men's work" and other jobs are "women's work."

Fact: Attitudes about which jobs are appropriate for men and which ones are appropriate for women are the result of tradition and socialization. The vast majority of job requirements are unrelated to sex.

Myth: Non-traditional jobs for women always require heavy lifting

Fact: Some do. Many don't. For example, companies and communities are training new workers of all ages for many different jobs in information technology and telecommunications. Train companies recruit for conductors and dispatchers. Women obtain indoor painting, plastering, and floor covering jobs. Employers recruit women for historic preservation and forest management.

Myth: Women won't like trade work.

Fact: Many women enjoy working with their hands and working outdoors. They take great pride in knowing that they have helped to build or create something. As a result, researchers have found that most tradeswomen have a high degree of job satisfaction.

Myth: Men are not (or are less) nurturing and thus cannot make good nurses and
teachers.

Fact: Many men are nurturing and are successful and effective in careers like nursing and teaching. Many men also want to be active fathers and involved with their families. Sometimes boys and men are discouraged from expressing their nurturing toward others because it is not masculine or “macho” for men to show their nurturing side and skills. Young boys may get teased for playing with dolls or having a favorite teddy bear. Nurturing is more a matter of personality and skills, not gender.

Myth: A man’s place is in the workforce making money and as the breadwinner in the family.

Fact: Although more women than men are the main caregiver in their families, more and more fathers are becoming the primary parent for their child(ren). More fathers are staying home and taking care of their children while the wife/mother works, more fathers are participating equally in the housework and childcare in their family, and more fathers have sole or shared custody of their child(ren) in situations of divorce. With most wives/mothers working full-time, fathers need to participate fully in the important job of raising their children.

Myth: A man can’t make enough money if he goes into a non-traditional career or job.

Fact: While it’s true that traditionally female jobs and careers often pay less than
traditionally male ones, men can make a good living supporting themselves and helping to support their families in non-traditional jobs and careers. Although money is important in deciding what work to pursue, it is not the only (or even the most important) consideration. Just as the women’s movement has helped women achieve greater employment opportunities and equal/fair pay, men need the permission to pursue studies and careers based on their interests, skills and satisfaction, not solely on how much money these jobs/careers pay.

Myth: Non-traditional jobs are too dirty, noisy and dangerous for women.

Fact: Non-traditional jobs are often dirty and sometimes dangerous. However, both men and women must weigh the hazards with the benefits of taking certain jobs. In addition, many traditionally female jobs, like mothering and nursing, are dirty and messy, and some also have health hazards, such as computer terminal radiation and carpal tunnel syndrome. Many women do not mind getting dirty when they are paid a good wage, and with proper safety instruction, all workers can minimize the danger they experience on the job.

Myth: Only younger workers can get a non-traditional job.

Fact: Most trades do not have a maximum age for apprentices or trainees. The U.S. Department of Labor gives grants to groups that help people of all ages get skill training. Many companies are interested in training reliable, mature workers.

Myth: Apprenticeships are only in construction and manufacturing.

Fact: Some are. But apprentices all around the country are also training for jobs in culinary arts, utilities, dental assistance, horticulture, sewing-machine repair, electronics, offset printing, youth development, and beekeeping.

Myth: Women will leave a job to get married and have children; therefore, the job should go to a man who will stay.

Fact: A survey conducted in March 1992 found that the average woman worked 30 years over the course of her lifetime, regardless of whether or not she was married. More than half of the women who do leave work to have children return to the labor force when the child is one year old or younger. By the time their youngest child is three years old, at least 6 out of every 10 mothers have entered or returned to the labor force.

 

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