In the 1940’s, when the U.S. needed to increase mass production of war materials during World War II, huge numbers of women across the country were mobilized and trained in factory and technical jobs. Women entered and championed this sector in a matter of months, and in addition to winning the greatest war in history, an effect of this was an increase in the standard of living for both men and women in our nation. The challenges that America faces today – reviving a flagging economy, rebuilding a crumbling infrastructure and beating the clock on global climate change - are no less ambitious, and require a similar mobilization of all we can muster.
The recently passed 800 billion dollar stimulus package aims to meet those challenges. A massive portion of this bill is an effort to enact the largest investment in our nation’s roads, bridges and mass transit systems since the creation of Eisenhower’s national highway system. The lining up of thousands of infrastructure, construction and green jobs has in turn begged the question of whether men are being disproportionately, well, ’stimulated’ in this stimulus. If this is the case, as it looks to be, it just may be our chance to break the gender stereotypes in these fields and pave the roads of opportunity for a new generation of American working women.