Women miss out on job opportunities
By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au
POSITION VACANT: EITHER pay to go through university, or expect to work long hours for a minimum wage.
This is what awaits local girls when they finish high school, with very few opportunities for female-oriented work in Gladstone.
Shari Doolan took a job as an apprentice hairdresser when she finished school, not because she wanted to but because she had to.
'I never wanted to be a hairdresser but it was the only opportunity that came up so I took it,' she said.
She has just resigned because at only $6 an hour, she was struggling to live off her wage and now plans to go to university.
Shari's position is one shared by many local women, with employment opportunities for the fairer sex few and far between.
'It's a concern for me because I don't have a job at the moment and I've been out there looking but there just doesn't seem like there is anything,' she said.
Of the jobs that have been adver-tised in the local Jobmart in the plast month, only 20 per cent of them were in female-related fields, with 48 jobs out of the 251 available.
In comparison jobs in male oriented fields accounted for more than twice as many positions with 118.
The remainder were in neutral fields, which would attract both men and women applicants.
While women are able to apply for the positions within the male oriented areas, most are in heavy industry or labour positions and would not attract most female applicants.
'It's all office admin jobs for girls or hairdressing,' said another local 20-year-old Tash Dingle.
"But it's just something you have to learn to accept in Gladstone.'
As a comparison, a child care trainee, a predominantly female ori-ented position, makes less than $15,000 a year.
On the other hand an apprentice working in a major industry in Gladstone could expect up to twice that and walk away with a qualification at the end of their time which would ensure them a job locally.
Ms Dingle is studying business through TAFE to get a qualification for better opportunities, but like other students she also works to put herself through school. ' Most of my male friends are apprentices and they get paid to learn,' she said.
Neither Shari nor Tash knew any female apprentices in Gladstone, showing that while the opportunity is available, few females are attracted to becoming a tradesperson.
With International Women's Day on March 8, The Observer will be reporting on issues that affect females in our region leading up to the event.