How skills training for women can change communities
Ariane Hegewisch, who co-authored “Pathways to Equity” as well as the 2014 IWPR study “Occupational Segregation and the Gender Wage Gap: A Job Half Done,” knows that in addition to being unfair in principle, those disparities represent a drag on job-creation, innovation, and growth in GDP. Occupational segregation, says Hegewisch, “slows down how much the economy can grow and how quickly you can respond to new opportunities.… It’s as if having occupational segregation means that the economy is under-oiled.”
Women have the lowest representation in middle-skill industries such as construction and engineering, where historical, practical, and social norms have combined to make those occupations the realm of men. Hegewisch discovered, for example, that of all the apprentices in the U.S., fewer than one in ten were women.
Alexandra Torres Galancid, executive director of Southern California–based nonprofit Women In Non Traditional Employment Roles (WINTER), is determined to change that. Placing women in well-paid jobs has a “tremendous” impact, she says. “Not only does it change the children’s lives and the family’s life, it also changes the community, the way women are seen in the community, and what they think they can do with their job.”
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