Men and women are working together in virtually every industry. Consider these myth-busting facts as you think about a nontraditional career:
Myth: There are two kinds of work: "Women's Work" and "Men's Work." Each should stick to what's considered appropriate for their gender.
FACT: This notion of what's appropriate for each gender has long been thrown out the window! Barriers have come down and there are few jobs that are limited to one gender or the other. Requirements for most occupations are based on knowledge and skills.
Myth: Women don't have the inborn strength to handle heavy physical labor.
FACT: Take a look around. Women are doing heavy physical labor just as they've always done. In reality, though, due to technological advances, herculean tasks are a thing of the past. Moreover, OSHA, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, requires that special equipment be used for heavy physical work no matter who is performing the task.
Myth: Women aren't good at science, technology, engineering or math.
FACT: Unfortunately, this is a stereotype that continues to hold women back, even though it's been proven wrong many times over. Both women and men can succeed in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) careers. STEM jobs are expected to grow by 17 percent over the next decade, which is almost double the average for other occupations. So if you like STEM subjects, go for it!
Myth: Women don't have an aptitude for the mechanical tasks required in trade and technical careers.
FACT: A growing number of employers are recognizing just how valuable women can be in precision, high-skill trade and technical occupations. Women in these occupations, such as machining, welding, automotive service, electrical power technology and computer science, report a high level of satisfaction. Due to higher salaries and the need for qualified workers in these fields, women enjoy greater economic independence and job security. Plus, they're very good at what they do.
Myth: A man must work in a traditional male occupation to find career satisfaction.
FACT: As gender roles have become blurred in the home (e.g., "Mr. Mom" and "Daddy Day Care"), so has the workplace changed. Men still work in manufacturing, criminal justice and other traditional male occupations, but with the rise of the service-based economy, many have found success and satisfaction in occupations that were traditionally considered female. Look beyond the labels. Men are making valuable contributions in all types of occupations, and so can you.