Increasing numbers of women are getting jobs in fields traditionally dominated by men. According to The New York Times, the number of women working in transportation and utilities, construction and mining has grown by more than 10 percent since 2016.
Could this break down gender barriers?
Though these fields are still largely male-dominated, women working in these new roles could help break down gender barriers. Nolee Anderson works as a carpenter in Nashville. She stated though she is often the only woman on a construction site, she has noticed more women becoming interested in the field recently. Anderson also thinks her gender makes her more attractive to potential employers who want a more diverse workforce.
Some think the bubble will burst
Some question how long this influx of women will last. Unemployment is the lowest it has been in almost 50 years. This is pushing employers to hire individuals they may not normally consider.
In 2000, unemployment was below four percent, and more women were hired in male-dominated fields. Once unemployment rose again, the number of women hired in these fields dropped again. The same thing may happen again when unemployment increases.
Women still typically earn less
Even when women are hired for these jobs, they are not necessarily receiving the same treatment. The New York Times states women working full time in these traditionally male fields earn 29 percent less than men on average. California has the Equal Pay Act. This act specifically prohibits unequal pay based upon gender, race or ethnicity.
They may face other discrimination
Other than the pay gap, women also typically face more discrimination in male-dominated fields. They often encounter harassment and pregnancy discrimination. In California, employers with 5 or more employees are required to undergo sexual harassment training.
Gender discrimination is against the law
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based on a person’s sex. Under federal and state law, an employer cannot discriminate against a person’s gender regarding hiring, pay, job roles, promotions, benefits, firing or any other conditions of employment.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act also explicitly outlaws employment discrimination due to pregnancy. There are also laws against sexual harassment in the workplace.
If you have faced gender-based discrimination or harassment at your job, the law is on your side. Speak to an employment law attorney to learn more. Please contact the Oakland law firm Gwilliam Ivary Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer at 510-832-5411.