Women in Resource Development: Educational Resource Centre Women in Resource Development








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  Techsploration TECHSPLORATION
Newfoundland and Labrador





What Is Techsploration?

Techsploration provides young women with an opportunity to explore trades, technical and technology-related occupations, while creating an awareness about the critical role of work in their lives. It also helps them understand the significance of high school math and science for their future careers.

Why Are So Few Women In Trades, Technical And Technology-Related Occupations?

  • It is well documented that both young girls and boys are most likely to be drawn towards occupations that they associate with their own gender. This tendency unfortunately affects girls in a disproportionate way. Since females are concentrated in a much narrower range of occupations than males, girls automatically exclude a much larger number of possibilities than boys based solely on this gendered association. The Techsploration program is specifically designed to combat this tendency and to reduce its adverse impact on girls.
  • Very few girls have any knowledge about the trades and technologies. Because they do not observe women working in these fields, they are unfamiliar with the work and unable to visualize themselves in the work environment. Through "techsploring", girls often discover that what they once automatically assumed was unsuitable for them, has now become very enticing. Increased exposure to accurate information, to female role models, and to actual work environments raises the level of comfort for young girls about new occupational areas.
  • A general lack of encouragement and support inhibits many girls who feel inclined to pursue career options considered outside the traditional norm for their gender. While there have always been a few girls with the tenacity to fulfil their dreams despite the obstacles put in their way, this is the exception rather than the norm. Techsploration provides support not only for individual girls in the program, but it also builds a more intrinsic and permanent base of support in educational institutions, in industry, and in the community at large.

What Kind Of Approach Will Produce Results?

There is certainly an increased general awareness among stakeholders about the attitudinal, systemic, and social barriers which have impeded women's entry into the skilled trades and technology areas. As well, an honest effort is being made by employers, unions, government and educational institutions to bring about change. However, despite this heightened level of awareness and increased commitment, the results continue to be disappointing.

Based on the giant strides made by women in areas such as medicine and law, once considered outside of their domain, we know that the barriers can be overcome. Perhaps it is time to shift the focus from sensitizing adults about the problems, to engaging girls themselves in creating the solutions. A key feature of the Techsploration program is that while it involves partnerships among all the stakeholders, it clearly has girls as the centre of its focus.

It is the girls who take the initiative to "techsplore" career possibilities, who work as part of a team, who interact directly with female role models at work, and who then share their experiences with their peers. Traditional mixed-gender career exploration programs have tended to produce traditional results in the area of girls's career choices. This innovative all-girl program specifically focuses on attracting women to a wide spectrum of fulfilling careers in areas they would otherwise not consider.

Techsploration fits in with the new impetus for partnership approaches between educational institutions and industry. Because of the high level of motivation for everyone involved, there is the potential for a domino effect throughout the educational system and the workplace.

It is highly likely that over a period of time, participants in the Techsploration program will be more likely to pursue careers in the skilled trades and technology areas than girls who have not participated in the program. Industry partners involved will likewise see that as more women are hired, the increased visibility will lead more women to choose these fields. Many of the traditional barriers will automatically disappear once a critical mass of women is achieved.

How Does Techsploration Help?

  • Techsploration gives girls the tools they need to learn about trades, technical, and technology-related careers.
  • It provides girls with opportunities to meet and interact face-to-face with female role models, and to participate in workplace tours.
  • It uses a collaborative approach, working with representatives of industry, educational institutions, advocacy groups, and the community, to encourage and support young women in the career planning process.
  • All the key players have an important role in this program, but the primary focus is concentrated on the girls.
  • Everyone involved in the project not only participates in a hands-on, action-oriented process, but they also learn something that can benefit them in their respective professional spheres.



© Women in Resource Development Corporation 2009