In this lively book, women who have broken with accepted societal roles and now enjoy careers in formerly male worlds share their experiences of accomplishment and frustration. They have made inroads with job salary,promotions, hiring policies, and training. However, sexual harassment, lack of acceptance from older male colleagues, and animosity from coworkers' wives, even inadequate bathroom and changing facilities are issues some of these women still face.
Ferguson offers blue collar women or women thinking of pursuing nontraditional careers - vital information about many issues, including self-esteem, practical approaches to on-the-job differences, filing discrimination suits, and seeking support.
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Ferguson and Sharples's book, at first glance, is an informative how-to manual targeted at women contemplating blue-collar careers. Its warm, chatty tone, first-person interviews with working women and step-by-step instructions make the book an accessible and valuable guidebook for hopeful future tradeswomen. At second glance, however, Blue Collar Women's constant promotion of these jobs reads more like a blue-collar recruitment pamphlet. Interviews with women plumbers, meter readers and forklift operators, among others, appear with the authors' chirpy copy extolling the virtues of these professions. They repeatedly crow about the (admittedly appealing) benefits of trade employment, which range from a handsome salary to no indoor fluorescent lights to "a new physical image... looking more natural, more robust." However, it becomes clear that any drawbacks of blue-collar work for women are not going to be openly discussed. Discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace are dealt with lightly at best, and if any women have grown disenchanted with their trailblazing lives, it is not mentioned here. A more balanced examination of both the pros and the cons of working in these fields would have been far more useful-and credible.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This book confirms it: most groundbreaking acts arise out of mundane needs, not idealism. Sparking the civil rights movement, Rosa Parks protested moving to the back of the bus because she was tired. Likewise, women broke into male-dominated trades because the jobs paid more, not because the women were feminists. Many became ad hoc feminists as a result. They encountered discrimination, sexual harassment, unfair rules, and lack of acceptance from their colleagues. But they endured out of necessity; they were only seeking better economic opportunities. That is what behavioral scientist Ferguson learned when she studied women who chose careers as machinists, firefighters, welders, construction workers, police officers, and other macho occupations. Through more than 30 in-depth interviews, she discovered the motivations, family histories, personal attitudes, work and educational backgrounds, lifestyles, and other factors that influenced those women and their job choices. Unfortunately, Ferguson's conclusions and observations are rather limiting and dull. Fortunately, they are overshadowed by the real strength in what her subjects have to say. Mary Ellen Sullivan
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Book Description New Horizon Press, 1994. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0882820931