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International Women's Day: highlighting women in non-traditional jobs

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Posted at 6:23 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 20:03:45-05

Gone are the days when a woman's primary job was being a homemaker.

On this International Women's Day, we are highlighting women who work male dominated, non-traditional jobs.

We first introduce you to Audrey Alvarez, a firefighter II and EMT with the Corpus Christi Fire Department.

She has been a firefighter for 18 years, and told us that she started her career thanks to a very good group of men that supported her and pushed her.

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"They were always like 'hey lets go try this, let's do this class, lets get certified in this,' so I was always like 'okay, lets do it'", she said.

Alvarez said working in her industry can be tough sometimes, so your support system is important to help get you through the days.

She added she has had tremendous support regardless of her gender, and sees this job as something anyone can do as long as you are healthy, both physically and mentally.

She told us there are approximately 20 women out of about 430 firefighters. She encourages any woman who may be interested in her field to get involved, take classes and start talking to people.

"The books don't teach you what you need to know, you don't realize what's going to happen till you really get out there," she said.

While the support and partnership with co-workers doesn't wane for Game Warden Lerrin Johnson, she told us that the general public does tend to be surprised when they find out that she, a woman, is a game warden for Texas Parks and Wildlife.

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"[They tend] to be like 'oh you're the game warden!?' Most of the time at my house they'll come around and they'll say they think it's my husband," she told us with a laugh.

The 2018 Game Warden of the Year told us she really likes working with the public, and because they aren't seen as traditional law enforcement, and they typically don't approach people when anything bad is happening, people tend to be excited when they see them.

"A lot of people will be like 'oh man it's the game warden!," she said with a smile.

Johnson said she thinks it's important for the younger generation to have strong women in leadership positions "so that they know that there are other things out there for them, not just what people would consider the traditional jobs that women do."

And TAMU-CC Assistant Professor of Political Science, Dr. Sanne Rijkhoff, asserts Johnson's notion - as she explained to us - that woman in leadership tend to have other woman that they have looked up to that helped pave the way.

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"Sometimes when we see women in leadership positions, we tend to think that they are extraordinary or extra special, but many of these women have had their role models," she said.

Dr. Rijkhoff was born in the Netherlands and found inspiration to become an international scholar from her college professor. After arriving in the U.S. in 2010, she attended Washington State University. She then moved to Portland to teach political science, and then to Calgary in Alberta, Canada after. She hopes to show her students that they too can become international scholars if they want to, and she encourages women to be more confident in themselves and strive for change.

She told us "change only happens when people are aware,"and that there are many things that are equal now between men and woman, but there is still no real equality.

"And if we're not being aware of that, then we'll never achieve that either," she said.

While we may still have a ways to go, International Women's Day is a day to celebrate how far we've come. So kudos to these women, and all woman who continue to shatter the glass ceiling.

KRIS 6 photojournalist Alexis Montalbo contributed to this story.