The occupations in which the girls now in the public schools will later engage can be determined with a relative degree of accuracy by employing a method in general similar to that utilized in forecasting the occupations of boys. It must be taken into account, however, that the wage-earning period for women, except in the professional occupations, usually begins before the age of 21. For this reason the 16 to 21 age group probably offers the best basis for determining the future occupational distribution of girls in school. If all women at work up to the age of 25 were included the figures would be more nearly exact, but unfortunately data for the period between 21 and 25 are not available. The figures at the right of Table 14 show the number engaged in each specified occupation among each thousand women in the city between the ages of 16 and 21. The proportions given for the professional occupations, particularly teaching, are too small, because of the fact that few women enter the professions before the age of 21.
Applying these proportions to the average elementary school unit, it will be seen at once that the number of girls old enough to profit by special training is too small in any single occupation to form a class of workable size. In such a school there would be about 80 girls 12 years old and over. Of the skilled occupations listed in the table stenography and typewriting offers the largest field of employment, yet the number who are likely to take up this kind of work does not exceed five or six.
The organization of the junior high school, where the enrollment is made up entirely of older pupils, obviates this difficulty to some extent. Instead of 80 girls there are from 300 to 500, with a corresponding increase in the number who will enter any given wage-earning occupation.
Not less than one-eighth and probably not more than one-fifth of these girls will become needleworkers of some kind. They will need a more practical and intensive training in the fundamentals of sewing than is now provided by the household arts course. The skill required in trade work cannot be obtained in the amount of time now devoted to this subject. It should be made possible for a girl who expects to make a living with her needle to elect a thoroughly practical course in sewing in which the aim is to prepare for wage earning rather than merely to teach the girl how to make and mend her own garments. As proficiency in trade sewing requires first of all ample opportunity for practice, provision should be made for extending the time now given to sewing for those girls who wish to become needle workers. This can easily be done through the system of electives now in use. The establishment of classes in power machine operating during the junior high school period appears to be impracticable, due to the immaturity of the girls and the small number who could profit by such instruction.