Overall, the winter training issue is very informative and the broad-based scope a pleasure to read. I did have great difficulty when I read my own piece and the words "non-traditional occupations" popped out at me. As the eradication of that term from current usage has been one of my goals as National Coordinator for the WITT National Network, to see it ascribed to me as I come up to the end of my second term was, to say the least, disconcerting.
WITT feels very strongly that these jobs are not non-traditional, men have been doing them for many years. When they are referred to as such only when women do them, the men believe that the women do not belong. They are even more isolated. Many young women do not want to be non-traditional, they want to be just like everyone else and they also want to make a good living doing satisfying work. In a way, the term has become a stigma, a judgment against those training and working in areas where they are under-represented. It doesn't really describe the work being done. Trades, technology, operations, blue collar work, and management are the terms we use to describe those jobs, and we delight in women doing them!
While the term had currency in the early 1980s to describe occupations to which women were not gaining access, it is now being recognized that the term may be somewhat self- defeating. Course names have changed to Women in Trades and Technology (WITT). Groups such as the Ontario Committee (now renamed "on trades, technology and operations occupations for women," OCTTOOW) a long-standing group of advocates for these issues, have recognized the need to update their usage. The City of Toronto, at the very last minute before publication in 1990, changed the name of their Retention Strategies booklet to "Retention: Support Strategies for Women in Trades, Technology and Operations Work." We applaud those developments, and hope to soon see a day when women are always welcomed into these jobs areas for the skills, abilities and atmosphere they bring to this most satisfying work.
Thanks for including our article in the latest edition of Women's Education des femmes. It is an excellent issue--congratulations!