Women in male-dominated career fields watch a unique U.S. presidential campaign

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Women in male dominant careers comment on the possibility of a female President
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Women in male dominant careers comment on the possibility of a female President
Neurosurgeon Linda Liau, MD, 49, Professor and Director of the UCLA Brain Tumor Program walks out of the operating theatre after successfully removing a tumour from a patient at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, United States, May 26, 2016. Liau has been a neurosurgeon for 25 years and has developed a brain cancer vaccine that is in clinical trials. ÃItÃs a very male-dominated profession... When you walk into the room they assume youÃre the nurse or the assistant as opposed to the actual surgeon," Liau said. "I think ultimately the goal would be to be gender-blind completely, so the fact that weÃre even talking about having a female president as a novelty is in a way sad." Picture taken May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Neurosurgeon Linda Liau, MD, 49, Professor and Director of the UCLA Brain Tumor Program (C) removes a brain tumour from a patient at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, United States, May 26, 2016. Liau has been a neurosurgeon for 25 years and has developed a brain cancer vaccine that is in clinical trials. âItâs a very male-dominated profession... When you walk into the room they assume youâre the nurse or the assistant as opposed to the actual surgeon," Liau said. "I think ultimately the goal would be to be gender-blind completely, so the fact that weâre even talking about having a female president as a novelty is in a way sad." Picture taken May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 
Welding instructor Darlene Thompson, 45, poses for a portrait at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College in Los Angeles, California, United States, June 27, 2016. Only 4.8 percent of U.S. welders were women in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Thompson said: "I honestly donÃt care whether it [will] be a woman or a male [president]... What I want is someone who is morally and ethically correct... Right now we need a little peace." Picture taken June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 
Welding instructor Darlene Thompson, 45, poses for a portrait at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College in Los Angeles, California, United States, June 27, 2016. Only 4.8 percent of U.S. welders were women in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Thompson said: "I honestly donÃt care whether it [will] be a woman or a male [president]... What I want is someone who is morally and ethically correct... Right now we need a little peace." Picture taken June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 
Venture capitalist Eva Ho, 44, who runs a seed fund, works on her computer in Los Angeles, California, United States, June 21, 2016. "In some ways the VC career has really been an old boys club and it's been dominated by white men for the last three or four decades," Ho said. "I wish gender wasn't an issue, and I'm hoping that with Hillary gender will no longer be an issue. I think girls and boys need examples of leadership that are represented by women." Picture taken June 21, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 
Venture capitalist Eva Ho, 44, who runs a seed fund, poses for a portrait in Los Angeles, California, United States, June 20, 2016. "In some ways the VC career has really been an old boys club and it's been dominated by white men for the last three or four decades," Ho said. "I wish gender wasn't an issue, and I'm hoping that with Hillary gender will no longer be an issue. I think girls and boys need examples of leadership that are represented by women." Picture taken June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 
(L-R) Producer Charity Burton, producer/director/actor Ursula Burton, and producer/director Maria Burton, of Five Sisters Productions pose for a portrait in Los Angeles, California, United States, May 18, 2016. Women comprised 19 percent of all directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 U.S. grossing films of 2015, according to San Diego State UniversityÃs Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film. Charity said: ÃIf Hillary is president then she is the commander-in-chief... And then women are seen as powerful figures, which will then translate to: ÃOh okay, if a woman can run a country, a woman can run a company; then a woman can run a restaurant; then a woman can run a studio.' It gives validity to women.Ã Maria said: ÃA woman in power in the real world... little kids see that and it doesnÃt seem uncommon. Then maybe women directors are hired more, and they put more interesting women on screen.Ã Ursula said: ÃHaving a woman president opens up the presidency for girls and it will shift the perception for boys of what girls can do." Picture taken May 18, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 
Construction site worker Joundi White, 31, walks down a railway track at the construction site where she works in Los Angeles, California, United States, June 16, 2016. Only 2.5 percent of U.S. construction labourers were women in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. "I eat lunch alone, I don't have people to relate to at work... Don't get me wrong, I identify more with the guys, but to them ultimately I'm just a girl," White said. ÃI think Hillary being president would be great. When I do have children, if I have a daughter, IÃll be able to say: ÃBaby if you want to be president, you can be president.Ã ItÃll be an attainable dream.Ã Picture taken June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 
Construction site worker Joundi White, 31, poses for a portrait at the construction site where she works in Los Angeles, California, United States, June 16, 2016. Only 2.5 percent of U.S. construction labourers were women in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. "I eat lunch alone, I don't have people to relate to at work... Don't get me wrong, I identify more with the guys, but to them ultimately I'm just a girl," White said. ÃI think Hillary being president would be great. When I do have children, if I have a daughter, IÃll be able to say: ÃBaby if you want to be president, you can be president.Ã ItÃll be an attainable dream.Ã Picture taken June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 11 union electrician Hannah Cooper, 28, works on a project site in Los Angeles, California, United States, June 21, 2016. Only 2.4 percent of U.S. electricians were women in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. "Growing up in my society I was constantly aware or told, whether it was straight out or implied, what women canÃt do, and what a womanÃs place is, and how a woman should behave, and what a woman is capable of, whether itÃs intellectually or physically," Cooper said. "I feel like [a woman president] would chip away at that in the psyche of the next generation." Picture taken June 21, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 11 union electrician Hannah Cooper, 28, (R) pose for a portrait with her mother Kelly Cooper, who was the first woman to join IBEW Local 11 in 1975, in Los Angeles, California, United States, June 22, 2016. Only 2.4 percent of U.S. electricians were women in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Hannah said: "Growing up in my society I was constantly aware or told, whether it was straight out or implied, what women canÃt do, and what a womanÃs place is, and how a woman should behave, and what a woman is capable of, whether itÃs intellectually or physically... I feel like [a woman president] would chip away at that in the psyche of the next generation." Kelly said: "You have to have thick skin to be anyone in the trade, to be a woman in the trade you have to have a particularly thick skin... I think that one of the reasons we donÃt have enough women in the trade is because there just arenÃt enough women role models and having a woman president would be exciting. It should be normal that a woman can be leader of the country." Picture taken June 22, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 
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LOS ANGELES, July 23 (Reuters) - Dr. Linda Liau works with the precision of a master, peering into a patient's head with magnifying loupes as she removes a brain tumor.

When Liau was called into an emergency room as a surgeon more than 20 years ago to help treat a car crash victim, another member of the medical team assumed she was a nurse.

Even today, the 49-year-old neurosurgeon sometimes gets a surprised reaction from new patients who were expecting a man.

Such an assumption is common in career fields dominated by men.

Neurosurgery, welding, venture capitalism, construction, film directing and the electrical trade - these are six jobs where U.S. women have made inroads but are still vastly outnumbered.

SEE ALSO: Tim Kaine: 5 things you need to know about Hillary Clinton's VP nominee

And one position, U.S. president, has never been filled by a woman. With presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton seeking to become the first to break that barrier, several women in career fields made up mostly of men told Reuters that they saw her candidacy as significant.

"I think ultimately the goal would be to be gender-blind completely, so the fact that we're even talking about having a female president as a novelty is, in a way, sad," Liau said.

On a construction site, Joundi White, 31, has often been reminded of her gender. Early in her career, the reminders were pet names such as "sweetheart" and "honey." Now, she can rarely shake the sense that she is outnumbered.

"I eat lunch alone," White said. "I don't have people to relate to at work.

"Don't get me wrong, I identify more with the guys, but to them, ultimately, I'm just a girl."

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Wearing a hard hat, White passes under heavy steel beams, walking along the commuter train tracks she is helping build in her working-class neighborhood in southern Los Angeles.

Welder Darlene Thompson, 45, is also no stranger to the construction site, or to the hostility that she says women often encounter in the field. These days, she teaches others as an instructor at Los Angeles Trade Technical College.

In a heavy coat and blue gloves, she looks from under her helmet at the white-hot flame of a welding torch.

It was a fight to learn these skills. More than a decade ago, when she began receiving job training as a welfare recipient, Thompson had to argue for the chance to study welding. Public assistance administrators wanted to push her toward cosmetology or culinary arts, she said.

Thompson did not say how she would cast her ballot in November but said she would not vote for Clinton just because the candidate is a woman.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's slogan has resonated with her.

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"When they talk about 'Let's make America great again,'" Thompson said, "what I think of is the companies in Detroit, the automotive industry going back to Detroit and giving back jobs."

A well-paid job as an electrician has opened up opportunities for Hannah Cooper, 28. For one thing, she was able to buy a house in the expensive Los Angeles real estate market.

Sometimes, she will encounter someone on a construction site who knows her mother, Kelly Cooper, who also was an electrician.

"Everyone remembers her because there's only a few women," Cooper said.

Kelly Cooper began as an apprentice in 1975.

"You have to have thick skin to be anyone in the trade," she said. "To be a woman in the trade, you have to have a particularly thick skin."

She is now director of construction for the Los Angeles Department of General Services.

Eva Ho, 44, is a woman working in the technology field, which is unusual enough. But she is also a venture capitalist, which is rarer still.

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"In some ways the V.C. career has really been an old boys club, and it's been dominated by white men for the last three or four decades," Ho said.

A graduate of Harvard and Cornell, Ho said she was drawn to work in technology because of its ability to drive social change. But she came late to it, never having used a computer until college.

For the Burtons, who work together as filmmakers through their company Five Sisters Productions, their career had its seeds in their childhood as the daughters of a writer and a former professional musician.

Both parents were feminists who thought their five daughters could do anything, said Ursula Burton, a director, producer and actor.

Now the possibility of a female president could help create more opportunities for women, she said.

"Having a woman president opens up the presidency for girls," Burton said, "and it will shift the perception for boys of what girls can do."

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