Women Workers And The Future Of Manly Jobs

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Rosie the Riveter, where are you? The construction industry wants you. Boomer men are retiring fast, and unions are wooing women workers.

Will women fill jobs where men once dominated? (Photo Courtesy Ellen Voie, Women In Trucking Association)
Will women fill jobs where men once dominated? (Photo Courtesy Ellen Voie, Women In Trucking Association)

Boomers are retiring in droves off many blue collar work sites. Hanging up their gloves, their boots, their hardhats. A lot of millennials, we’re told, don’t want those jobs – muddy, heavy, hard. But there are still jobs to be filled – from ironworking to auto repair to truck driving. And those industries are turning to women. Rosie the Riveter was the factory icon of World War II. Now, some big American industries want her back. Up next On Point: hardhats, women, and the American workforce. -- Tom Ashbrook


Danielle Paquette, economic policy reporter for the Washington Post. (@DPAQreport)

Eric Dean, general president of the Ironworkers’ Union, formally known as the “International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union.”

Ellen Voie, president of Women In Trucking Association.

Harry Holzer, professor of public policy at Georgetown University. Former chief economist at the Labor Department in the Clinton administration.

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Washington Post: America’s manliest industries are all competing for women — "By 2029, all of the baby boomers will be older than 65, meaning one-fifth of the U.S. population will have reached retirement age. Millennials, the workers who would replace them, aren’t as interested in pursuing careers in the trades. Enrollment in vocational education has dropped from 4.2 credits in 1990 to 3.6, according to the most recent data analysis from the National Education Association. The opioid epidemic, meanwhile, has zapped some of the male workforce because men are more likely than women to both use and overdose on illicit drugs."

Medill News Service: Opportunities open up for women truckers, but their numbers remain small — "Attracted by the financial independence and personal freedom of being a trucker, women are smashing stereotypes and establishing fulfilling careers on the open road. But their numbers remain relatively small, despite the need for more drivers amid a national shortage and more acceptance from potential employers."

CNBC: That terrible jobs report was actually great for women — "Something strange happened on the way to the unemployment line in March. In addition to the big disappointment in overall hiring, the month was brutal for married men but excellent for married women, according to numbers released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In all, there were 90,000 fewer married males at work, while the total of married women with jobs soared by 352,000 in March."

This program aired on April 26, 2017.


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