Feeling unsettled in your daily grind? Perhaps it’s time to consider a change and look outside the traditional square, maybe even outside the window!
If you were a daddy’s girl, happier handing him the tools as he was pottering in the garage working on the car, than helping mum in the kitchen, chances are you were discouraged from considering a ‘hands on’ career such as mechanic or plumber, even if you did learn how to change a tyre and check the oil before you had your first car!
Women historically, have been herded into traditional female roles in healthcare, education and retail. Sure, many will make their mark as a doctor, lawyer, accountant or veterinarian, but what if you thought you would be happier with your hands on the controls of a Fifty Tonne dump truck or fixing and creating perhaps as an electrician, painter or a plumber?
Australia is without a doubt one of the most occupationally segregated countries in the world. We live in a country where skill and talent shortages are a constant challenge for prospective employers, but the idea that women and girls could be successful and fulfilled working in industries like mining, construction and utilities which are currently domination by men, or even one day, take on a leadership or management role in these areas of expertise, is seen by some as out of the question. We need role models, as we cannot be or aspire to be, what we cannot see.
The fact is that some organisations are still searching ‘offshore’ for talent when there is a whole, largely untapped, pool right here. There is the gender stereotypical idea that associate science with males and arts with females, and this can also be reinforced at home when parents feel uncomfortable or perhaps unaware of the same opportunities being available to their daughters as well as their sons. In the past career information pertaining to traditionally male dominated roles has been mostly targeted to males without consideration of the interest and indeed the value that could be offered by young women.
There is also the negative perception about ‘blokey’ workplace environments and whether the ladies are able to stand up to potential discrimination and bullying. Add to that, the attitude that women are not welcome in their workplace or ‘up to’ the nature of the work, it is not surprising to find the transition slow to take hold.
Thankfully, some companies are slowly recognising the need to integrate and develop talent available to them by increasing the number of women in their workforces. Smart businesses are realising that women can bring real value to some roles that men cannot, and recruiting female talent for their workforces, building stronger and more profitable businesses is the bonus.
For example, it has been proven, that on mine sites, women are more careful drivers, have less accidents and look after the heavy equipment better. Also, in engineering roles, they use a more analytical mind and pay close attention to detail, happy to spend the time required on necessary but mundane research tasks to achieve a successful outcome.
Often women will not try for male dominated roles even if they are interested because they lack encouragement. Ladies, get out there and toot your own horn, and mums and dads encourage your daughters to dream big and do whatever it is they are passionate about.
Do you work in a traditionally male dominated role, or would you like to?
Have you been discouraged from pursuing a job or career just because you are a woman?