By Joan Runnheim Olson
While a wide range of career options are open to qualified women, many remain male-dominated, aka, non-traditional for women. Below are 10 career fields where women can find job opportunities and serve as pioneers for other women.
Agriculture: Farming, ranching, and other forms of agriculture have traditionally been male occupations. Women own only 8.6% of farms in the United States. Traditional agriculture careers, including those that are more high-tech, are in great need of female employees. This field is a smart choice for women interested in a science field with immediately practical applications.
Forestry: Images of lumberjacks, mountain men, and park rangers are what probably come to mind when thinking of forestry. Today, only 10% of the total 18,000 professional forester members of the Society of American Foresters are women. Only 26% of the U.S. Forest Service staff members are women, and less than 7% of the senior executive officers are women. The profession could use women who are passionate about protecting and preserving America's wild spaces.
Electrician: Fewer than 2% of licensed electricians are women. Gender prejudice and lack of recruitment of women to the field may be two of the reasons attributing to the low percentage of women employed in the field. The field often pays well and can be a good option for women who would prefer to work with their hands.
Engineering: A little over 12% of the total engineering workforce is comprised of women. In electrical engineering, only 8% of the workforce is made up of women. Many schools have low female enrollment in engineering programs, which can contribute to the low number of women in the field.
Mathematics: Stereotypes still persist that women aren't good at math, and it appears that women seem to believe that stereotype. Women are underrepresented in math-related fields, especially in academic positions at top universities.
Aviation: Only 6% of the over 600,000 pilots in the United States are women and only 3.85% of non-pilot aviation jobs are held by women. Women are in high demand from many airlines and private companies who want to diversify their staff.
Fire and emergency services: Many women face a battle being accepted as firefighters and emergency workers. This is due to the belief by some that women shouldn't be working in the field because they can't match the upper body strength of men. This can lead to women not even considering a career as a firefighter or rescue worker. As of 2008, women make up only 3.7% of the first responder workforce. Over 50% of metro fire departments don't even have one female on staff.
Law enforcement: This field remains male-dominated with only 12% of females in law enforcement jobs nationwide and only 1% of female law enforcement officers rising to the level of lieutenant or higher. Law enforcement can be a good career choice for women with a passion for protecting.
Architecture: Women still make up only 13.3% of professional architects. It's a tough field to navigate, with male chauvinism still being a major factor in the architectural culture. Now is a good time for a female pioneer to break the glass ceiling.
Information Technology: While 42% of IT professionals were female in 1996, by 2004 that number dropped to 32%. Females pursuing a computer science degree dropped from 37% of grads in 1985 to just 28% today. Companies are doing what they can to draw women back into the profession.
Chemistry: Today women hold only 12% of tenure and tenure-track professorships in chemistry even though over 40% of the PhDs awarded in the field were to females.
Source: Bachelor Degrees Online (http://www.bachelorsdegreeonline.com/blog/2011/14-fields-in-desperate-need-of-females)