cover image Blue Collar Women

Blue Collar Women

Trudi Ferguson / Author, Trudy Ferguson / Author, Madeline Sharples / Wi

Ferguson and Sharples's book, at first glance, is an informative how-to manual targeted at women contemplating blue-collar careers. Its warm, chatty tone, first-person interviews with working women and step-by-step instructions make the book an accessible and valuable guidebook for hopeful future tradeswomen. At second glance, however, Blue Collar Women's constant promotion of these jobs reads more like a blue-collar recruitment pamphlet. Interviews with women plumbers, meter readers and forklift operators, among others, appear with the authors' chirpy copy extolling the virtues of these professions. They repeatedly crow about the (admittedly appealing) benefits of trade employment, which range from a handsome salary to no indoor fluorescent lights to ``a new physical image... looking more natural, more robust.'' However, it becomes clear that any drawbacks of blue-collar work for women are not going to be openly discussed. Discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace are dealt with lightly at best, and if any women have grown disenchanted with their trailblazing lives, it is not mentioned here. A more balanced examination of both the pros and the cons of working in these fields would have been far more useful-and credible. (Nov.)