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Home > 10 Key Areas of Title IX > Career Education

Career Education

Before Title IX

In vocational courses in high schools, most girls could only take "home ec" (cooking, sewing), while most boys could only take "shop" (woodworking, metalworking). Schools were allowed to deny women training in fields that society considered "inappropriate" for them. Therefore, women trained primarily for low-wage, traditionally female jobs like health aides and cosmetologists.

Since Title IX

Thanks to Title IX, schools can no longer legally shut doors to certain courses or training on the basis of sex. The law says girls must be free to pursue career training in courses like aviation, automotive repair, and architectural drafting, while boys can choose to pursue cooking, nursing, and cosmetology. It's about time! Career training must be by choice not by gender.

Why Title IX Is Still Critical

Even though they're not as obvious as before, barriers in vocational education still exist, as women in vocational programs remain largely concentrated in traditionally-female sectors.  Many of these programs provide training for jobs in the lowest-paying sectors of society.  

Source: National Women's Law Center analysis based on data from the Departments of Education in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina and Washington.

  • Barriers in vocational education still exist, and it is critical that guidance counselors present a wide variety of career options, including potential pay scale and required skill levels, when describing potential vocations.
  • High-skill, high-wage jobs and training programs are still dominated by men. Low-skill, low-wage jobs and training programs are still dominated by women.
  • Young women are over 85% of the students enrolled in high school cosmetology, child care, and health assistant courses. Child care workers earn a median salary of $7.43 per hour while cosmetologists earn a median salary of $8.49 per hour.
  • Young men are over 90% of the students in high school courses for plumbing, electrical work, welding and carpentry. The media salary for plumbers is $18.19 per hour and electricians earn a median salary of $19.29 per hour.

Take Action

Ask the Secretary of Education to Keep Title IX Strong in Career Education
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