Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Media Moment, "NEW: Nontraditional Employment for Women."

Halfway asleep on the train, I spotted this Media Moment:

OR check out the website if you aren't able to see my picture clear (just to get an insight of what NEW is):

It's an advertisement for NEW (Nontraditional Employment for Women) which is a program that offers free training and job placement to women in what we commonly know as "manly" jobs. They specifically mention Building and Construction, Transportation and Public Utilities. Why not break down the social barriers/stereotypes even further? I mean, didn't this movement start since Rosie the Riveter (whose slogan coincidentally, or maybe not so coincidentally, bares similarity to the NEW ad) back in the 40's? 
J. Howard Miller poster 

Coming from a family with way more testosterone than estrogen, my first thought was, "Go Ladies!" Show that "We Can Do It!" all, even in the most testosterone-ridden workplace. But then I wondered (probably because of the Deconstructing Media Kit) what is NEW not telling potential applicants? Yes, it's an enthusiastic message that may leave us with the utmost pride for our vajayjay's but can't it be possible that these women face serious sexual harassment in these fields? Are they really respected as not only competent employees but also females who are going beyond socially constructed limits? Are they just as safe as their male counterparts on job sites? Are the union benefits the same for both sexes?

I came across this study on the Department of Labor website entitled Women in the Construction Workplace: Providing Equitable Safety and Health Protection  ( basically stating that there are definite examples of a hostile workplace environment for women by male  coworkers, sexual harassment, isolation from others, lack of proper restrooms and the list goes on. The article's abstract declares, "Many of the identified problems are amenable to change through engineering, behavioral, or administrative intervention. The recommendations in this report are directed at employers, labor unions, manufacturers, training programs, supervisors, and workers. Improving the work conditions for women in the construction trades will not only ensure their health and safety, it will also serve to attract and retain women as workers during a critical time of labor shortages in this industry."

So, based on this information and maybe even your own experience... Do you think women have to maintain conventional masculine character traits to advance in or be socially accepted in nontraditional job environments?

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