A non-traditional career is defined as one where more than 75% of the workforce is of the opposite
gender. For women, many non-traditional careers fall into a few broad categories of jobs: labor-
intensive, scientific/ technical, and supervisory. And while fewer non-traditional careers are available
for men than for women, these careers tend to involve education, health and service-related jobs.
Examples of non-traditional career paths Examples of non-traditional career
paths for women: paths for men:
Airline Pilots Bank Tellers
Architects Child Care Worker
Carpenters/Construction Workers Cosmetologists
Chef and Head Cooks Dental Assistants & Hygienists
Dentists Flight Attendants
Clergy Elementary, Middle School Teachers
Engineers Hair Stylists
Firefighters Home Health Aides
Mail Carriers Nurses
Security Guards Social Workers
Welders Speech Pathologists
Why should people consider working in non-traditional jobs?
54% of all working women are employed as clerical workers, retail salespersons, waitresses, and hairdressers which can be classified as
“traditional” female jobs.
Women in traditional jobs earn 20% to 30% less than women in non-traditional occupations. Such occupational segregation is the
main reason why women make 76 cents for every dollar that men make nationally.
Many women are just as capable as men to meet the physical demands of non-traditional work
Non-traditional jobs better enable women to support themselves and their families.
All workers, male and female, have a right to choose among a full range of occupations, not just those dictated by traditional
Myths and Reality
Myth: Women are in the labor force to earn some extra spending money.
Reality: The majority of women work because of economic need. Women’s need for good jobs is demonstrated by the
fact that nearly 45% of all family households maintained by women lived in poverty in 1990.
Myth: Women and men are represented equally in most occupations.
Reality: Women workers are concentrated in traditional female occupations. In 1994, women represented 78.9% of
all administrative support (including clerical) workers and 66.1% of all retail and personal services workers, but only
9.3 % of all precision production, craft, and repair works and 7.2% of all apprentices.
Myth: Women will leave a job to get married and have children; therefore, the job should go to a man who will stay.
Reality: In March 1992, on average, women were found to work 30 years over the course of their lifetimes,
regardless of whether or not they married. Of those women who do not leave to have children, more than half return
to the labor force when the child is one year old or younger. By the time the youngest child is three years old, at
least six out of every 10 mothers have entered or returned to the labor force.