Shattering Stereotypes: Nontraditional Job Paths for Young Women

Carmen Morcos, Nisha Dhawan, Cynthia Steele, Lydia Holden, Jessie Gotsdiner
EMpower—The Emerging Markets Foundation
Resource Type: 
Publication Date: 
Jun, 2015

This resource kit was put together to provide references and easy-to-use tools and resources for participants in the “Shattering Stereotypes Learning Exchange on Nontraditional Jobs for Young Women”. This learning exchange, which took place in January 2015, brought together select EMpower grantee partners and other experts working to position and prepare girls and young women for jobs usually reserved for males. There is not a perfect term for this concept (some use “occupational segregation” or “nonstandard”); we chose to use “nontraditional income generation” for young women, recognizing that what is traditional for males and females varies by culture and context, and that many people earn income through self-employment or entrepreneurship, rather than paid jobs in the formal sector.

Such jobs and micro-business opportunities often pay better, offer more job security and other benefits, and widen the range of options for young women to earn income and develop their potential. Nontraditional jobs can change her view of what she can do, as well as the perceptions of those around her (family, partner, children), including employers and clients. In this way, increasing the number of young women in nontraditional jobs also shapes norms about what is possible for females, leading to more role models and pathways for younger girls.

However, working in new areas such as this also poses challenges to the young woman daring to do what is uncommon in her context as well as for the organizations seeking to train, empower, and support her. Just as there are few defined pathways for the young woman seeking a job outside the “gender-normative”, so too are there few resources for organizations seeking to create such pathways and preparing to walk alongside women on such journeys. This resource kit is intended to address this gap and provide a medley of resources and ideas, so that organizations taking on such path-breaking work do not have to go it alone and can benefit from the wisdom and ideas of others.

As an emergent field, currently much of the documented work is coming from the Global North. We scouted a range of materials to uncover tools and resources that could be useful for programs in low resource settings in the Global South, with a priority on practical, applicable resources. Permissions were sought and citations given for all materials in this resource kit, as we want to credit the original sources. In some cases, where allowable, materials were adapted, especially to make them more relevant to emerging market country contexts.

Please cite EMpower—The Emerging Markets Foundation if materials are adapted from this resource kit.

Workforce Development
Adolescent Girls
Economic Empowerment
Training & Capacity