I agree with many of the ideas above. I think you might conclude that the reason why women apply for jobs that are traditionally male fields will have more to do with gender inequality in society at large rather than any stereotypical notion of gender and what men and women supposedly can and can't do. I also agree that interviewing women who hold jobs in "male" professions would be good, but conversely you might want to interview women who have "female" jobs to ask them why they didn't want to go into more "male" areas of employment.
Consider the alternative. If women pursue jobs traditionally held by women, their pay will be less, their potential to parlay the job into something more lucrative is less. The best way for women t achieve greater levels of achievement in the business world is to obtain jobs traditionally dominated by men.
I agree with the recommendation by mshurn -- "why do some women..." - and really like Bullgator's idea of interviewing several women who hold traditionally male jobs.
Interviews are research (they serve as what's called "primary sources"), and a few good interviews, to many teachers, will be worth more than a a few mediocre statements from secondary sources. Interviews take work, and good interviews take even more work, but they often yield very useful information.
You can record the interviews (after securing permission of the persons you're going to interview, of course!) and then use the record of the interviews as a pool of data. You can pull out meaningful statements from each interview and use those statements as direct quotations in your paper.
Explore as many possible reasons that women might have for entering fields traditionally dominated by men. A 10-page paper will need a lot of this sort of exploration in the early stages.
You may want to consider interviewing a few women who hold jobs that may still be considered male-dominated. I'll bet you can find a few women in your community who would be happy to talk with you if you don't know any yourself. Try asking some friends of friends if necessary. (For example, I have a woman friend who is her school's athletic director, a job usually held by a man. My community also has a woman sheriff--another such example.) Be sure to prepare some good questions beforehand.
You should re-frame your question--Why do some women . . .? Many women still choose occupations that are traditionally filled by women. So, in your research, can you find any common denominators among women who do choose male-dominated jobs? And if there are some, which factors seem to be most prevalent? That would be interesting to pursue. I'm sure more money would be a reason, but what about personal interests and aptitude, as well as family influence? I know two women who are excellent plumbers because their father started a plumbing company and took them to work with him during their summer vacations.
Jobs that have been routinely dominated by men pay better than those jobs that are determined to be mostly for women. Even today, women are still discriminated against. Men make more than women...even the women who train the men how to do those same jobs (probably because men have always been considered to be the bread-winners of the family). So, women may be choosing to bypass the old system and go straight for the big bucks. There are more single-parent families now, and more single mothers. These women deserve to earn excellent wages to provide for their families, too.
Ever since WWII, when women went into the work force and did men's jobs, there has been more attention to the fact that anything a man can do a woman can do. There are less stereotypes about what kinds of jobs women are good at compared to men and vice versa. Each gender brings particular strengths to a job, and there is more value seen in that with each passing generation.
Some possibilities would be:
- Those careers have been dominated by men because of discrimination, not because women can't do them. So it's normal that women would want to get into them once discrimination declines.
- The women want to challenge themselves. Doing something that you're not "supposed" to be able to do is a real personal challenge.
- They want money. These jobs often pay well and there can be a premium if you are one of only a few women who are good at that particular job.