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Women into non-traditional industries and occupations

Go girl: School-based strategies to encourage girls and young women into non-traditional occupations

Many innovative careers’ guidance practices and initiatives in Australian schools are resulting in good outcomes for girls and young women and a report into current models of careers’ exploration available for girls and young women will be released by economic Security4Women (eS4W) on 19th August in Perth. Programs and initiatives that focus on broadening career options for girls are challenging persistent gender based stereotyping and negative perceptions about the experiences of young women in non-traditional occupations. These programs can impact positively not only on the long-term future of individual women, but also on the Australian economy.

eS4W chair, Sandra Cook, welcomed the findings of the report.

“Our member organisations are committed not just to increased workforce participation by women and girls, but to see them working in careers with skill sets that are highly valued, transportable, flexible and adaptable to the changing needs of industry – all contributing to their lifelong economic security”, she said.

The report found successful programs to be characterised by the following approaches:

Career exploration opportunities for girls and young women to ‘taste’ and experience non-traditional and STEM (science, technology, engineering & maths) occupations prior to and during their senior secondary years of schooling
Female role models and mentors from non-traditional occupations and industries that broaden the career expectations of young women
Industry-led partnerships that invite and support career exploration by young women, as well as long-term participation in non-traditional careers and industries
Promotion of support networks for young women working in non-traditional workplaces
Career exploration opportunities early in girls’ schooling that encourage reflection on their skills and interests and explore relevant options in a broad range of occupations, industries and workplaces.
Partnerships between schools, educational institutions, industries and communities to assist girls and young women into non-traditional study and work placement opportunities.
eS4W is a National Women’s Alliance that aims to inform actions to increase female participation in non-traditional occupations and industries. eS4W is concerned about the impact of gender segregation in the labour force on women’s lifetime earnings.

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