In celebration of Women’s History Month, we recognize the incredible contributions of women throughout history and acknowledge the progress made in achieving gender equality. However, there’s more to be done, particularly in traditionally male-dominated industries like construction, skilled trades, advanced manufacturing, and STEM-based fields. The good news? The future is promising!
Last fall, we got a call from the Ohio Association of Career Technical Superintendents (OACTS) with a request to help shed light on what Ohio Career Technical Centers (CTCs) can do to encourage more female students to engage in historically male-dominated careers. The CTCs recognized they were seeing more female students enroll in construction, welding, skilled trades and STEM fields and performing phenomenally well. Collectively they wondered, “how do we get the word out to more students and families that these hands-on learning opportunities in all of our programs are open to everyone?”
Of course, we jumped at the chance to dive into this challenge! After hours and hours of local, statewide and national research, we published a White Paper and produced a marketing plan for CTCs to utilize right away.
The bottom line: CTCs and public school systems play a pivotal role in fostering change and empowering women to pursue all careers. Here are some of the ways educators and school administrators can be part of supporting women.
- Seeing is Believing: Mentorships
Mentorships have a powerful influence on growth and change, especially for women in male-dominated industries. By connecting women with inspiring female mentors in the workplace or similar industries, we can alleviate psychological barriers like fear, imposter syndrome, and anxiety. Research shows that women with access to female role models and mentors are more likely to succeed in these fields.
- Network! Network! Network!
Similar to the age-old real estate adage, “Location! Location! Location!” today’s message for young adults entering new or existing career fields is, “Network! Network! Network!” It matters who you know and how you can always be learning. Local, alumni and/or career-specific networks can provide career development resources, especially for those who are underrepresented in an industry, help young professionals overcome bias and self-doubt, and provide a platform for future growth and leadership opportunities.
- A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats
Research shows that gender-balanced teams yield more novel and higher-impact scientific discoveries than single-gender counterparts. Companies with women in leadership positions are more profitable, too. Achieving gender equality in all industries benefits aspiring professionals, companies, and society as a whole. It is just as important for students to learn self confidence as it is for them to learn their peers deserve respect. Regardless of age, gender, orientation or any other characteristics, individuals who work well on teams can experience greater growth overall.
This Women’s History Month, let’s celebrate the achievements of all women in all fields and work toward a future where women have great access to opportunities in all careers and lines of work. Most importantly, we can and should be using all our tools and resources to ensure all students in CTCs and public schools are provided opportunities to experience success. Together, we’re shaping a bright and optimistic future for young women and all young adults.
Need help implementing these strategies? Allerton Hill can help. Schedule a time to chat with us here.