Buck Tradition: Increase the Role of Women in Non-traditional Occupations

Two National Guard Military Police officersThere’s an old riddle that psychologists use from time to time: A father and his son are in a car accident. They get to the hospital, both unconscious, and the child is rushed into surgery where the surgeon looks at the patient and declares, “I can’t work on this patient, he’s my son.”

If you’re like most people, you’re thinking, “But, but … how … was he adopted by the other man?”

Then it hits you. The surgeon is the boy’s mother.

You see, we often – and unconsciously – assign gender roles to various professions. It’s a fact that most surgeons are men. So are most police officers, firefighters, mechanics, helicopter pilots, plumbers, and construction workers. But certainly not all of them are. We’ve just been conditioned by years of historical precedent to think otherwise.

Well, to quote the incomparable Bob Dylan, “the times they are a changing.” Women represent almost half of the U.S. workforce and hold 51 percent of high-paying management and professional positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Clearly, women are bucking tradition in professional positions, and it’s time to start thinking differently about gender roles in all careers because there’s no reason women can’t accomplish the same in every profession and trade.

The Army National Guard can help women make inroads through leadership and skills training, and with ample education benefits. And while combat positions are closed to women, hundreds more Military Occupational Specialties are available, such as the military equivalent of:

Police Officer: Dreams of donning law-enforcement blue? To join the 15.5 percent of the police force that are women (according to the U.S. Department of Labor [USDL]), wear green first as a military police (MP) officer in the Army National Guard. And while serving part-time as an MP is not a guarantee that you’ll be a civilian police officer, between the experience and the potential for preference on civil service exams, it’s something that can help your resume rise above the rest.

Firefighter: The USDL indicates that only 3.4 percent of firefighters are women. The professional experience that comes from the training and education you’ll receive as a firefighter in the Guard can go far in helping you enter this exciting and important field.

Pilots: The Guard operates a fleet of helicopters. We here at On Your Guard have never, ever seen a sign on the cockpit door that reads “Men Only.” But you’d think that were the case with the USDL statistics that say that only 1.3 percent of commercial pilots are women. Pilots in the Guard attend top-notch aviation training and participate in missions and training most civilian pilots only dream of.

Mechanical Trades: Is it difficult for women to find positive inroads into the auto service industry? Women in the National Guard find no such roadblocks. If you’re a gearhead, we’re here to support that and will expose you to a range of equipment that will test your skills and help you hone new ones.

Construction Trades: Which of the following occupations do you think have a female workforce of less than 2 percent according to the USDL: Carpenters, construction equipment operators, HVAC workers, cement workers, brick and stone masons, and plumbers? If you said “all of them,” you’d be right, but there’s something just not right about that statistic, is there?

So there you have it, the Army National Guard is a bastion of opportunity for people who want to serve part-time while developing skills that can serve as a foundation for any number of in-demand careers. Check out all the opportunities at NATIONALGUARD.com and find position openings near you on our online job site.

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