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Diversity at Con Edison
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women in nontraditional jobs

At Con Edison, qualified women can... and do... have the opportunity to apply for any position open to their male counterparts. The women of Con Edison are engineers, mechanics, general utility workers, and top executives.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a nontraditional occupation is one where women comprise less than 25% of the workforce in that particular job.

In the past, women were under-represented in most occupations except for those that were closely associated with the notion of "women's work." These limited positions included such traditional jobs as nurse, teacher, librarian, seamstress, social worker, waitress, and secretary. Thanks to the concerted efforts of advocates for women's equality in the workplace, women today are no longer relegated to working in these fields where they earned 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. Now women are as likely as men to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, business executives, and accountants. But in no field has this historic transformation in the American labor force been more evident than in the area of nontraditional jobs. And at Con Edison women who are trained as mechanics, electricians, engineers, welders, operators, and technicians - not to mention those women who are among the company's top executives - have the perfect arena in which to apply their skills and knowledge.

Through our relationship with Nontraditional Employment for Women, an organization that works to secure employment for women in such jobs, and other organizations that help women achieve their educational and career goals, Con Edison is able to help develop a reliable source of potential employees.

Here are some of the remarkable women who have chosen to pursue careers at Con Edison in "nontraditional" fields:

Sharron Sellick, construction representative, Public Improvement/Engineering

Sharron Sellick

Sharron Sellick joined Con Edison in January 2000 as a general utility worker in Maintenance Services and was promoted to mechanic in 2001. Sellick was honored with the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund Liberty Award for Valor for her heroic efforts at Ground Zero, shortly after 9/11. Along with others, she worked 12-hour shifts for a month, laying cables and building temporary cable housings as part of the company's massive restoration efforts in Lower Manhattan.

Maria Torres, supervisor, Protective Systems Testing

Maria Torres

Maria Torres began her career at Con Edison in 1973 as a union employee with the title of electrical technician and became a senior electrical technician in 1986. She was selected to participate in the company's Tools for Employees Advancing into Management (TEAM) program in 2001, when she was promoted to her current position as technical supervisor.

Loretta Vanacore, vice president, Central Field Services

Loretta Vanacore

Loretta Vanacore joined Con Edison in 1981 as a management intern and worked in various departments. Following a series of promotions, she served as a section manager of Training and a section manager of Recruitment. Ms. Vanacore was promoted in 1999 to the position of director of The Learning Center. Two years later, she accepted a challenging assignment as the plant manager of 74th Street Station, a steam-generating station. In 2004, Ms. Vanacore was promoted to director of Labor Relations. She was promoted to her current position in 2009. She has a BA in Business from Marymount Manhattan College and earned an MBA from St. John's University while working for Con Edison. Ms. Vanacore was honored as a YMCA Woman Achiever in 2001.



Myths and Facts About Women and Nontraditional Occupations
Myth Certain jobs are "men's work" and other jobs are "women's work"
FACT Attitudes about which jobs are appropriate for men and women are the result of tradition and socialization. The vast majority of job requirements are not related to gender.
Myth Women can't perform blue-collar work or heavy physical labor.
Fact Throughout history, women have performed heavy physical labor. During World War II, more than six million women entered the labor force to build ships, airplanes, and other equipment needed for the war effort.
Myth Women are not strong enough to do heavy labor.
FACT Strength requirements are often exaggerated. In addition, OSHA requires that special equipment be provided for every heavy job regardless of who is performing the task. Finally, mechanization continues to decrease the demand for physical strength requirements to perform the job.
Myth Women do not have the mechanical or mathematical aptitude for skilled-trade work.
FACT There is no scientific evidence to support this. A study conducted by the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation Human Engineering Laboratory found no difference attributable to gender in 14 of 22 aptitude tests. In the eight remaining tests, women excelled in six of them, and men scored higher in two.
Myth Women don't like trade work.
Fact Many women enjoy working with their hands and working outdoors, and it has been shown that tradeswomen have a high degree of job satisfaction.

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2013 Diversity Report
Recruiting a Diverse Workforce: Learn More
Women in Non-Traditional Jobs: Learn More

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