Women – How To Shatter The Glass Ceiling

Have you unsuccessfully tried to move up in your career? Do you feel that the men in your company get promoted and you're left behind? If this sounds like you, have you considered a nontraditional career? Contemplate a career where less than 25% of the workforce of a specific occupation is comprised of women.

What Jobs are Nontraditional?

Jobs that are nontraditional for women include: architect, carpenter, chemist, taxi driver, and President of the United States. There are over 100 occupations that are considered nontraditional. Just look around, you can probably determine by yourself which jobs are nontraditional.

Why Women Don't Consider

Stereotypes still exist as to what is considered "women's work." These stereotypes are ingrained in our society and are passed along from our parents and continue with our school teachers, and guidance counselors. Little girls rarely get gifts such as a truck, Lincoln logs, or a toy chemist set. Teachers and guidance counselors tend to steer girls into "pink collar" classes and jobs. With little guidance and exposure to ALL of our career options, it's a wonder there are any women in nontraditional careers.

Higher Wages & Higher Need

Many nontraditional jobs pay 20-30% more (and many others higher) than traditional jobs and have better benefits and career advancement opportunities. In many trades, 45-70% of workers 45 and older are expected to leave their occupation by 2008, according to the US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. These positions will need to be filled. If you're interested in working as a carpenter or welder, take a look at a job in the trades.

What Color is Your Parachute?

Money is often not the only determining factor in finding a satisfying career. A job where you can use your skills and interests is most likely a top priority too. Take a look at your skills and interests; do any of the nontraditional careers fit the bill?


Women that enter nontraditional occupations often face challenges. The first challenge is usually acceptance. Being a trailblazer isn't always easy. You stick out. You don't fit in. Once your male co-workers can see you're serious about your work and that you can do a good job, most will accept you.

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Non-Traditional Occupations For Women – Cracking the Glass Ceiling at Corporations

The glass ceiling is a term that has come to mean a barrier to women's advancement in the workplace. Believe it or not, this term celebrates its 30th birthday this year! The term was originated by diversity consultant Marilyn Loden in a 1978 presentation to the Women's Action Alliance Conference, to "describe the invisible barriers to advancement that many women managers still face." Thirty years later women are still bumping their heads on the glass ceiling, whether they are trying to rise through the management ranks, or gain a foothold in blue collar professions.

One may argue that Sarah Palin being nominated as the vice presidential candidate on the Republican ticket with John McCain is evidence that the glass ceiling is cracking. But she is the first woman candidate on a national ticket since Geraldine Ferraro was Walter Mondale's vice presidential partner in 1984. There has yet to be a woman on the ballot for the job of President of the United States, although Hillary Clinton made a historic run at the position this year. And though women have not yet attained the highest political post in the United States, they have made some inroads into the top positions in the corporate world.

According to Fortune magazine, the number of women CEOs in the FORTUNE 1000 has increased from 19 in 2005 to 24 in 2008. However, that's still only 2.4% of the top corporate posts being held by women. An extensive study (of 10,000 high ranking executives in nearly 1000 companies) published by researchers from the Tuck School of Business and Loyola University, recognized that the number of women CEOs will not likely significantly increase until at least 2016, based on the number of women Currently in the upper-executive pipeline. The researchers found that in 48% of the largest US firms, there were no women in senior positions, and that women comprised only a token presence in many of the other firms. The researchers project that the percentage of CEO spots held by women will increase from the 2000 level of 1.7% to 4.9% in 2010 and 6.2% in 2016.

If those projections hold, the number of women leading major corporations will still be quite low even in another eight years! So you may be thinking, what does having women in top leadership positions mean and why is it important?

In her book "The Female Advantage," author Sally Helgesen describes the changes in the corporate world as we've moved from an industrial age to a technological age, and states that women are particularly well-suited to the type of corporate hierarchy needed for the fast-moving technological age. She describes this more modern type of hierarchy as a "web of inclusion," as opposed to the older authoritarian top-down chain of command.

Picture a web, with the leader at the center, reaching out to all via this "web of inclusion." In a web hierarchy, the leader can create a more democratic and empowered organization that communicates more quickly and functions more effectively, …