I’m finally able to post something interesting, especially since I have more free time now. :)
The NYT came out with an article recently (yes I know I’m late on this) about how men are now entering female dominated fields. I suppose this shouldn’t come as a surprise, with the way the American economy is, many male dominated fields (i.e. IT, construction, etc.) are much more difficult to come by. One thing I’ve always learned from my mother (who is a Certified Nursing Assistant) is that people will always get sick and there will always be jobs in healthcare. Anyways, I’m going highlight some interesting points in the article.
It begins with a young 21 high school graduate who found a job as a dental assistant.
“The way I look at it,” Mr. Alquicira explained, without a hint of awareness that he was turning the tables on a time-honored feminist creed, “is that anything, basically, that a woman can do, a guy can do.”
This part raised a couple of questions for me. Are men entering these purely because jobs in male dominated areas are lacking or do younger men feel comfortable enough to enter into female dominated areas, because our culture has finally recognized that men can also do these jobs?
I have to admit, I was walking around campus at my former university recently and notice around the nursing school there was a significant amount of male students. Although this is purely anecdotal, I also remember speaking to a young man on the bus one day as he discussed entering into nursing, but later on went into restaurant management. His reasoning however was that the nursing was too depressing. I remember his words “I like taking of people, but I like seeing people smile.”
To the extent that the shift to “women’s work” has been accelerated by recession, the change may reverse when the economy recovers. “Are boys today saying, ‘I want to grow up and be a nurse?’ ” asked Heather Boushey, senior economist at the Center for American Progress. “Or are they saying, ‘I want a job that’s stable and recession proof?’ ”
This is a very good question. As I pointed above, do some men feel comfortable enough enter into these fields because of changing gender roles? The article points out that this could very well be the case.
In interviews, however, about two dozen men played down the economic considerations, saying that the stigma associated with choosing such jobs had faded, and that the jobs were appealing not just because they offered stable employment, but because they were more satisfying.
“I.T. is just killing viruses and clearing paper jams all day,” said Scott Kearney, 43, who tried information technology and other fields before becoming a nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.
So not only are some men entering these fields because they offer stable employment and don’t feel constrained by traditional gender roles, they’re actually finding the work fulfilling.
But now it’s time to ask more difficult questions, the article goes on to discuss that men earn more in these fields and they move up a lot quicker.
“Simply because higher-educated men are entering these jobs does not mean that it will result in equality in our workplaces,” said Ms. Gatta of Wider Opportunities for Women.
This qoute raises more questions, since men are entering these fields more often, will they be held in high esteem? Will men on average still make more than women, even in jobs traditionally held by women? These are just questions one can mull over.
What I found most interesting is another reason why these men are entering into these fields is because it allows them more flexibility so they’re able to spend time with their families.
Overall, I think it’s good there are more men feel comfortable enough to enter these fields because they find the work fulfilling, but I don’t want to celebrate just yet.