Girls still are stuck in home economics classes while boys take ‘shop’—that’s the gist of a new report released by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). The report, “Tools of the Trade,” finds that despite three decades of Title IX, girls represent the vast majority of students in “female fields” (such as cooking, sewing and cosmetology) and boys the majority in “male fields” (such as carpentry, automotive and welding).
When girls sign up for nontraditional trade classes, they often face harassment from peers and even from teachers. The lack of girls in traditional male trade education affects their earning power, too, as their male counterparts go into fields that are twice as lucrative.
“The hard truth is that most carpenters and electricians simply earn much more than health care workers and cosmetologists,” said Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of NWLC. “Breaking down the barriers that prevent girls from enrolling in nontraditional courses is not just a fairness issue, it’s an issue of dollars and cents.”
The data was collected from schools in 12 states, and NWLC has provided on its website separate state “toolkits” to learn about and address this gender discrimination.
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