By Samantha Rivers
In an election where we have the first woman to ever be a front-running candidate for the President of the United States, it’s safe to say we’re breaking through some major career barriers. The preconceived notions that women can only do certain jobs are being challenged and the gender gap is closing, with more women choosing to do non-traditional professions than ever before. The following lines of work are expanding the career field for women and proving a fruitful path to progress:
Be Your Own Boss
Female entrepreneurs are leading in the business world with women-owned companies growing more than any other type of privately held business. The alpha male in the role of CEO is becoming an increasing stereotype thanks to the many women leading successful businesses. Today’s largest global brands are being led by women like Anne Sweeney, the president of Disney-ABC Television Group, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, and Irene Rosenfeld, chairman and CEO of Kraft. These female leaders are paving the way for further acceptance of women in powerful positions and showing the world that we too, can be boss.
Additionally, companies that help fuel entrepreneurship are also emerging and supporting women throughout their journey to the top. Amway, for example, gives people an outlet to start their own business of selling health and beauty products by providing support from their network and suppliers. Its platforms such as these that are creating a solid place for any woman trying to exercise her desire to run her own company.
More and more women are gravitating to towards jobs in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)—industries that have traditionally been male-dominated. STEM-related career opportunities are vast and range from employment in computing and information technology sectors to industrial engineering, healthcare management and homeland security. Although we are still underrepresented in these industries, targeted initiatives are currently in place to up the numbers and change the statistics. STEM programs are beginning to provide educational assistance and employment for women in order to encourage participation and increase female representation in the work force.
Women in the Military
So long are the days when women were portrayed as nurses in that 1940s war movie. Enter 2016, when the latest Go Army commercial features women soldiers. Up until 2013, the US Department of Defense banned women from most combat roles in the military—that policy, now lifted, has given women looking to serve their country the opportunity to do so. Female faces are popping up on the front line of defense, and the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines have largely integrated women into the team. Aside from playing a huge role in protecting the US, women are also directly able to receive the steady benefits of pursuing a career in the military, like government paid-for tuition.
Also rising in popularity is freelance work. Though not specific to just women, a lot of us are breaking away from the traditional 9 – 5 office job to enjoy the freedom of working as we please, pursuing the passions that interest us most. Women are freelance writers and artists, fitness bloggers, social media influencers and digital fitness coaches (think – Beach Body coaches on Facebook), and a lot of this has to do with how technology has helped us gain a voice and platform. We can share our own niche interests with the world via Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, blog websites, Youtube and e-commerce platforms like Etsy, and make a living off of it.
There is a shift happening among us in the world we live in today. While we are a long way off from reaching equal status in many industries including those mention in this article, we should celebrate the great strides women have made. There’s more women at work than ever before, and at the same time the emerging role of a stay-at-home dad isn’t uncommon. It’s a solid indication that we’re starting to move away from gender-siloed careers and towards the greater integration of women working in any and every career field we please.
Samantha Rivers is a freelance writer who lives in Chicago (Go Cubs!) and loves writing anything in the lifestyle, technology, and career realm both online and print. When she’s not running the Upward Onward blog, she enjoys reading, finding new restaurants, being active outside, and indulging in a glass of wine or two.