Should women work in male dominated professions?

With income comprising a huge chunk of the wealth building equation, I’m constantly on the hunt for ways us gals can boost our earnings.

If your career pays just enough to cover your basic necessities, you love what you do, and couldn’t care less about increasing your wages, then you have my blessing. Keep doing what you’ve been doing.

But a 2011 Gallup survey, revealed a measly 30% of U.S. workers like their jobs. If you harbor lukewarm feelings or downright hatred toward your job, you might as well bring home a fat paycheck to compensate for your misery.

Female carpenter at work

You have no idea how hard it is to find a non-bikini clad image of a woman performing "men's" work.

Recently, a friend sent me an article about how North Dakota’s unemployment rate, the lowest in the United States, dipped below 3%.

While the sputtering economy remains top of mind for most Americans, the four year old oil boom in North Dakota continues to flood the state with cash.

According to CNN Money, the average annual salary of an oil rig worker and others in the field approached $100K.

As you might have of guessed, petroleum and other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields are overrun with men.

For some reason, women shy away from STEM professions. Additionally, we shun honest, good paying, blue collar work.

Why aren’t there more female plumbers, carpenters, electricians, fire fighters, construction workers, garbage collectors, and mechanics?

As much as I want to command you to go forth and compete with the boys, I have my reservations.

When it comes to raw intelligence and creativity, I’m convinced–research be damned–that the sexes are equal.

On the other hand, for many women (myself included), the conditions in which the aforementioned professionals work are, quite frankly, undesirable.

I don’t mean to sound like a wimp, but traditional “men’s work” is . . .


Men and women are not equal. It’s impossible for a man to carry and conceive a child. And no one argues otherwise.

I’d back down from a bar fight with even the scrawniest guy, because, well, he could probably kick my butt. After all, no one argues that men are stronger and faster than women.

Absent a hurricane, during the wee hours of every weekday morning, my dad slung the contents of one trash can after another onto the back of a dump truck.

UPS package delivery drivers routinely lift and lower packages weighing up to 70 pounds (~32 kilograms). If you’ve ever witnessed one of these guys rip through your neighborhood, then you know they carry out their responsibilities at lightning speed.

I workout and all, but you should see what scary changes my body goes through to schlep a 50-pound suitcase down a flight of stairs.


Do you know what my father, a garbageman, smelled like when he walked through the door?

You guessed it. Garbage.

Personally, I’m not super eager to chip my finger nails, sweat out my hairdo, or catch offensive odors in my hair and pores during a standard day’s work.


If you work with a bunch of guys, more likely than not, office chitchat will surround topics guys care about.

Of course, women and men engage in thoughtful conversation every single day. However, I’m sure men, in general, find certain issues more arousing than others.

For instance, I’ve never heard a woman drone on about the high school career, college career, Wonderlic test scores, or forty-yard dash times of each starting player of her favorite professional football (not soccer) team.

Although I’ve encountered my fair share of female sports fans, most women really just don’t give that much of a crap about sports to talk about them more than a few minutes a week.

In order to gain access to the most lucrative employment, I believe women should expand their options. However, I haven’t totally convinced myself that we’ll be successful in all male dominated professions.

What workplace challenges, if any, do you think women who work in jobs historically held by men face?

About the Author

Shawanda Greene is a free thinking, frugal gal whose only vices are boxed wine, lip balm and money grubbing. You can find more of Shawanda's musings at You Have More Than You Think – a productivity focused guide to maximizing the money you have to obtain more of what you want.