Young Women Explore, Embrace ‘Manly’ Trades 

Some people might think that fields like construction or engineering are more suitable for men.  High school girls in Maine are working to break that stereotype.

“It’s like not normal to see a lot of women in manly trades or untraditional trades and so I want to prove to them that we are very capable as well and we don’t have to do the traditional trades that women normally do,” says Tyla Baker, a student at Penobscot Job Corps.

The Totally Trades fair at UTC in Bangor brought in tons of high school girls to experience a variety of professions hands-on.

“After they’ve been to one workshop they go ‘Oh, I’m so excited I was here today,’ so they love this,” says Jane Searles, an event coordinator.  “In fact, we have a number of repeats. Girls like to come back and take other workshops.”

One repeat is Georgia Charles.  The Nokomis High senior plans to attend Eastern Maine Community College next fall for construction and technology.

“I just like the work,” Charles says. “It’s something different every day, something new every day and it’s never the same thing and you meet so many different people and when the project’s all done you can look back and go ‘wow, I built that.'”

As women, getting into these professions might come with challenges.

“Going into a construction trade there are more guys than there is female, so I feel like harassment would be a big thing,” says Angela Taylor, another student at Penobscot Job Corps.

“I believe that, to me, they don’t listen to women sometimes,” Baker adds. “I could tell them hey that’s not going to fit and then they would want to hear it from our instructor rather than hear it from me.”

Many girls are already setting career goals for themselves.

“I think it makes us strong and shows people that female or male you can do whatever you want to do as long as it makes you happy.”

“Yeah, we should push the gender aside. If they’re fit for the job, then they can do it.”