Girls encouraged don’t be scared – aim for high-paying, male-dominated industries

YOUNG women are outperforming their male peers in school but taking a back seat when it comes to high-paying, male-dominated industries, a new report shows.

Chelsea Redman is pushing other women to shelve the stereotypes. Picture: Tara Croser

The Economic Security 4 Womenreport found low numbers of women in industries like construction, mining and utilities, challenging gender equality and the economic future of individuals and Australia.

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S4W chief executive Sally Jope said it was important for women to know male-dominated industries were just as achievable as “tradi­tional” jobs like nursing.

“What’s happening now is people are gender blind and that results in people not talking to young women about ­options,” she said.

“A lot of people are working from stereotypes but what we need to do is open up those stereotypes to women.”

Ms Jope said that by not encouraging women to head into non-tradi­tional jobs, the workforce was selling ­itself short.

Women account for about 12 per cent of the construction workforce, with 15 per cent in mining and 23 per cent in the utilities industry.

“In the whole area of skills gaps, we really should be including all our secondary students to look at all the industry vacancies,” she said.

“They need to look at high-income jobs, but also because there’s this whole underused resource of smart young women who could be filling gaps.”

Chelsea Redman, 22, is studying engineering majoring in aerospace avionics at the Queensland University of Technology while working at Boeing and said her future career had been sparked from her love of maths and science.

“I think if the schools support it and parents support it, you should really go for it,” she said.

“Don’t be scared – just go for it.”


Originally published as What’s holding our women back
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