Certain trades are practiced mostly by men or women

A trade is considered non-traditional for women when it is comprised of less than 33% of women. Conversely, a trade is considered non-traditional for men if it counts less than 33% of men in its ranks.

Source: https://www.quebec.ca/en/employment/trades-occupations/non-traditional-careers/#c6249

Non-traditional trades are sometimes overlooked when it comes time to choose a career even though they offer interesting job prospects. Here are some reasons to encourage diversity in the workplace according to the Conseil Consultatif Femmes:

  • as a response to a manpower shortage;
  • to diversify work methods;
  • to guarantee qualified personnel;
  • to combine the complementary strengths of men and women.

Other studies have also demonstrated many positive aspects regarding the presence of women in occupations that are mostly occupied by men. They positively change the work culture in many ways: They tend to be more careful and pay particular attention to details, and many businesses that have integrated women into their traditionally male workplace also notice a healthier work environment.

There are therefore several good reasons to encourage women to enter non-traditional occupations.

Obviously, prejudices and stereotypes that have thrived since their early childhood play a significant role. We must shatter these pre-conceived notions and expose young girls to all the options available to them.

Another reason explaining women’s choices is their fear of being injured or risking their health and security, but the arrival of technology in many sectors has made workplaces safer, secure and more efficient.

The wage gap can also influence young women’s choices. According to a 2013 study by the Institut de la statistique du Québec, the wage gap between men and women working in companies with 200 or more employees was $4.19: professional women with equal skills earned $34.36 an hour compared to $38.55 an hour for men. In traditionally male occupations, the gap is even larger.


  • Rapport de la Stratégie nationale concertée : Pour en finir avec la division sexuelle du travail
  • Plan d’action gouvernemental pour l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes 2011-2015 (Gouvernement du Québec)
  • Secrétariat à la condition féminine (Gouvernement du Québec)
  • Institut de la statistique du Québec
  • Conseil Consultatif Femmes

As for men, the following fields are generally more popular: electronics, mechanics, IT, engineering, and physical work.

Under-representation of men

According to the data of the Office des professions du Québec collected in 2010, men are under-represented in several occupations in the health and social services sector. In fact, out of nearly 258,000 workers in this sector, only 20% are men. Men are also under-represented in elementary school education, daycare, general office and secretarial work.

Every year the Ministry of Higher Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Education invites women who are studying in a traditionally male domain to participate in the Emploi-Québec Hats Off to You! competition.

The contest and its Excellence in Science segment highlights the determination and work of women enrolled in a vocational training or technical training program, or a bachelor’s program in science or technology that leads to a career in a traditionally male-dominated occupation.

The competition

  • Recognizes women who choose a traditionally male-dominated occupation.
  • Rewards their hard work.
  • Promotes the academic success of women within a predominantly male group.
  • Provides role models for women who wish to venture off the beaten track.