Contest: A Few Kinds of Wrong is Looking for A Few Kinds of Women’s Work

womenatwork_smOf all the things that are wrong in Jennifer Collins’ life, one thing is absolutely right, she loves her job.

In my new novel, A Few Kinds of Wrong, Jennifer is a mechanic. It’s something that makes her stand out, because, unfortunately, female mechanics are pretty rare. Although the book isn’t trying to make any political statements, and Jennifer’s job is not the main focus of the novel, by making Jennifer a mechanic I’ve called some attention to how unusual it is to find women in some fields and gotten some responses back from both women and men who appreciate seeing a book about a woman in a non-traditional job.

That made me think that I’d like to use the book, and Jennifer’s occupation, to bring some more attention to how women’s work should be more about the jobs that women choose than just about the jobs that are traditionally defined as female.

So, I’m having a contest to celebrate women in non-traditional work and I want to hear from you!

Tell us about a woman in a non-traditional job. Could be you’re an engineer, your nan was a factory-worker in the war, your mom is a fisher-person, your wife is a mechanic, your friend is a truck-driver, any example of women working in work that is usually male dominated. Doesn’t have to be about you, nor does it have to be long (but I sure would like them longer than shorter).

FYI, the US Department of Labor, says that “A nontraditional occupation for women is one in which women comprise 25 percent or less of total employment” and they have a pretty extensive list of such occupations. (but you’re not restricted to the jobs on this list, if you want to tell of a woman who is in a field that you think is “male-dominated”, that’s enough for me).

Submitting your story is easy. Just add your comment to this post or, if you’d prefer, you can email your story to and I will post it here on the blog. Feel free to send photos or submit your story via a youtube video. (Please note that comments are moderated so, unless you’ve posted before on this blog, you won’t see your comment right away. ) Each story will receive an entry into the contest.

Your email address will not be posted and will not be used except in the case you’re a winner and I need to contact you to get your address. But your story/video/photo will be posted on this blog.

There will be three separate prizes, each being two autographed books–one of A Few Kinds of Wrong and also my first novel, this much is true. The contest ends at midnight on November 25th (extended to midnight on November 30th) and is open to anyone, anywhere.

I’m hoping the extra prize will be hearing more about women doing a few kinds of work and showing examples of women redefining the phrase “a woman’s work”.

20 thoughts on “Contest: A Few Kinds of Wrong is Looking for A Few Kinds of Women’s Work

  1. Pingback: This Much is True » Blog Archive » CBC Radio’s WAM Interview

  2. It’s past midnight now but I just remembered about an email I received from Angela Antle, host of CBC’s Weekend Arts Magazine (where I was interviewed about this contest and my book) from a listener. Angela forwarded on the email she had received from Shannon. Shannon thought I should talk to Margie, who Shannon said “… has literally done everything from being a crew member on a sailboat off Tel Aviv, to being a fisheries observer on Russian Factory Trawlers, to an acountant, to being the Commanding Officer of HMCS CABOT.”

    Wow, I bet Margie could tell us a thing or two about being a woman in non-traditional work. So, Shannon, you’re entered in the contest too.

  3. From Rosalind, via email:

    “My daughter works as a paramedic with mostly men. How non-traditional should it be? Would this suit the contest for the books?”

    And yes, Rosalind, if you think it is non-traditional, then it’s good for the contest. Thanks for the entry

  4. Pingback: This Much is True » Blog Archive » Last Day for Entries in Women’s Work Contest

  5. Thanks, Erin! My husband works at a dealership too where women are by far the minority in sales. And a woman is one of their top salespeople as well (at her dealership and in her whole region).

  6. I don’t know how universally non-traditional it is, but my sister-in-law works in car sales in South Dakota. She’s been at a few dealerships and is always the only female. And, if I may brag, is one of their most consistently successful sellers too. 🙂

  7. Better late than never, Natalie! Thanks so much! Yes, we all have to be thankful to those who came before. Even as a writer in Newfoundland, I owe a debt of gratitude to all the great female Newfoundland writers who made it possible for me to believe I could do it too.

  8. Hi Tina,

    Great contest (I really, really meant to enter it BEFORE the last day…)

    I’m an engineer (female!), and I love my job. I know I’m very lucky to be part of the newer generation of engineer (softer, kinder, better social skills…) and I am grateful to the women engineers who went before me. (Some of the stories just make me ashamed of the human race!) Because of these women, I get to have a fantastic workplace, with colleagues I respect, and who respect me.

    Thanks to the ladies who have come before!

  9. A woman I know through church is one of the most hardworking dairy farmers I know. She does it all and usually before the rest of us are even awake!! From birthing and branding calves to growing and harvesting silage. This on top of the cleaning, milking and other dairy aspects of the job. These are down and dirty jobs And yet, every week she comes to church as one of the most put together women there. She works as hard as any man but shows that you don’t have to sacrifice your femininity to do so. She’s done this on top of raising two great kids and being a very active member of our church. Definitely a superwoman in a man’s world.

  10. Pingback: Fun Contest on Tina’s Blog, ”To Celebrate Women in Non-traditional Work,” Open to Everyone! « Breakwater Books’ Blog

  11. Laura Babineau is my “Woman” Farrier, and she also shoes horses the traditional way using the hot shoeing method. This involves firing up the shoes and hammering them to size, etc. She unloads all her gear and does everything herself. This work was done by men but more women are getting into this field.

  12. Pingback: This Much is True » Blog Archive » Women’s Work Contest Extended

  13. Received the following email entry from Joan Scott. (Thanks Joan for a very interesting submission. 7% is sure non-traditional):

    First I congratulate you on he publication of your new book and especially on having a hero with an untraditional career. My job was nontraditional because all university departments were male dominated except for nursing. Even my area, biology, the so called female science, had among the tenured profs, an average of 7% women. In ’82, at OISE, I began a Ph.D. on careers of women (mostly) and men (fewer, just enough to do the comparison), bioscience profs at universities in 5 Canandian cities. It was finished around ’93. I chose randomly, and interviewed some wonderful women and at least 2 of the men were also pretty amazing. Included were Drs Rose Sheinin and Peggy Tripp-Knowles, now sadly both dead.

    You might be interested in an NFB video called Asking Different Questions, made in the early 90s and available at our Hunter Library. It includes the research programs of 3-4 women scientists, Peggy Tripp-Knowles among them, and Ursula Franklin acts as narrator and tells us just what is so different in the women’s research questions. You or some of those replying to the challenge on your site might be interested this video.

  14. Thanks, Jennifer. It doesn’t have to be a “story”, just telling of women in non-traditional work and yours did that.

  15. This isn’t my own experience–since I did try for a job as a minister in a systemic sexist denomination, but never did land the job. However, I have two ministers at Gower Street United who are female: the Reverend Kate Crawford and the Reverend Marion Davis. Although I’m not sure if they are only 25% of the United Church of Canada’s ministerial workforce, since that denomination is very progressive.

    Sorry, this isn’t a story, but will you accept nominations? I’d be happy to gift one of them your book, since I already have a copy.

  16. Received an email submission from Tamara:

    “Regarding your content, this story by Kerri Breen about a fabulous young woman (Jess Waterman) who is a carpenter might interest you:

    (This is a great article (but is locked to subscribers only) about Jessica Waterman who is a third-year apprentice at the Carpenter and Millwright’s College in Paradise. The article also tells us that the Carpenters and Millwright’s College has an Office to Advance Women Apprentices, headed up by executive director Gail Hickey. “22 women are employed as a result of the office’s assistance”.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *