For a woman breaking into non-traditional work, a supportive family can spell the difference between success or failure. Families can also provide role models and teach necessary skills. For Amy Kelley, an aunt in the printing trade served as a strong female role model. As several of the women point out, boys are routinely taught the rudiments of a trade or at least gain familiarity with tools by working with their fathers. Because of sex role stereotyping, girls are usually denied this opportunity. Sylvia Lange is a gillnetter today because her family ignored that general rule. For other women, however, vocational education programs are the route to learning entry level skills required by trade jobs.
The question of whether family break-ups lead to nontraditional work or non-traditional work leads to family breakups is touched on in several stories. Both probably occur. With divorce rates at over 40 percent nationally, it is reassuring to find that both Amy Kelley and Arlene Tupper have very supportive husbands. This helps to make their difficult times more bearable. Kathy Baerney, on the other hand, found that she had to choose between her family and the trade that she loved. Women such as Anna Brinkley and Michelle Sanborn are in the process of developing new patterns with their traditional husbands.
The added stresses of pregnancy and interracial marriage are also discussed. Beverly Brown poignantly describes her efforts, as a divorced mother, to provide her son with a strong sense of family and home. Geraldine Walker talks about coping with shipyard work, divorce, and raising five children.