RHS ECHO: Online student news

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RHS ECHO: Online student news

RHS ECHO: Online student news

Women have business being in male-dominated trades

Hayden Schuetz

As you plan your high school schedule, have you thought about taking a trade class? Recent trends suggest that interest in trades is growing and that some industries are attracting more females than ever before. According to The Hartford, the percentage of women in construction trades is made up of around 11 percent and the male percentage is around 89. On top of women seeking jobs in male-dominated trades, more women are considering careers in construction because there are many benefits that are included with these jobs.  “New technology and machinery provide both men and women the opportunity to work in this field. Companies can leverage rigging machinery and technology to maintain efficient job sites, while also offering roles such as inspector, electrician, project manager and sales representative,” according to The Hartford.

At the Rolla Technical Institute (RTI), students can take classes about many different trades including H-VAC, automotives, masonry and ag mechanics. In the seventh hour class of Ag Science I, roughly 43 percent are females.

Senior Peyton Whitaker who is the 2023-2024 FFA chapter president had the desire to jump into a trade at a young age. “TV made me interested in the fire and EMT services, and I was already involved in agriculture before high school but wanted to learn more,” said Whitaker. 

Even with an early passion for these jobs, Whitaker now points to other females in the agriculture industry to center her as she works toward her future.

“I have learned that females are taking over the agriculture industry. For example, the director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture is female, the newly inducted National FFA President is a female,” stated Whitaker. “I felt discouraged when I went and interviewed for an Area FFA office, and unfortunately did not obtain an office. That experience has taught me so much, and has just pushed me to do better at the next thing that I try to accomplish,” stated Whitaker. 

Societal standards can steer women away from becoming blue collar workers. Whitaker challenges girls to push for what they genuinely want to do even if it breaks the stereotype. “I would like to tell the younger generation of females that you can do hard things. You may have to work twice as hard as a guy to overcome those things but you can do it, don’t ever stop,” said Whitaker.  

Learning trades empowers women to be independent; they are not reliant on men for all types of work. Taking trade classes gives anyone the power to learn basic skills such as changing a tire, learning how to fix an AC unit, or even just learning the basics of plant and animal science. Trade classes provide the opportunity to work hands-on and to show others what you’re capable of. Many of these classes give you more life skills than just what the class is about; the tasks make you build relationships with your peers and force you to think outside the box. 

RTI and other institutes don’t advertise to women enough. When preparing to go into high school, students, no matter their gender, should be able to class shadow for a day to see if they would like to go into these jobs. These programs offer incredible opportunities for growth and should not have a limit to who can experience their benefits. 

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