Men valued more highly in the caring professions

// 28 July 2005

Researchers have found that men who pursue careers in the caring professions (nursing, teaching and other so-called ‘women’s jobs’) get more respect than women in the same professions. A study recently published by Brunel University, reported in The Guardian, found that women’s contributions to the caring professions were devalued as being ‘natural’ for them, whereas the ’emotional labour’ performed by men is a more unexpected asset.

Interestingly, the same study found that men in the caring professions worried about how their job was perceived in the outside world \x96 some of them even doctor (pun intended) their job titles to make them sound more \x91manly\x92. Dr Simpson of Brunel University says “If we want to encourage man into caring occupations we need to understand some of the difficulties and challenges they face in being seen to be a man in a female role. It’s not easy for them.”

I dare say it isn\x92t. And that\x92s no good for the men individually or for our society which needs the best and most able people to make a positive choice to work in the caring professions that we will all, at some point, benefit from. It behoves us to remember that gender stereotyping negatively impacts on men\x92s lives as well as women\x92s. In fact, it\x92s just another example of how feminists need to be reminding people loud and clear that to break down societal expectation of how people should act, or what they are, on the basis of their sex – arguably feminism\x92s most fundamental aim \x96 will be of benefit to men, and society at large, if we can make it happen.

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