Anything, Basically, That a Woman Can Do, A Man Can Do

The article on the NY Times front page today is good news, mostly. It tells us that more men are entering the professions traditionally dominated by women. And it is no longer the “foreign-born”, “non-English speakers” but men from “nearly all races and ages”, many who have a college degree.

Meanwhile, women’s inroad to prestigious (male-dominated) high-wage professions continue to increase. One reason for the shift mentioned is the gradual erosion of gender roles making the stigma associated with typical female jobs less apparent for today’s young men.

Worth mentioning is the fact that higher-educated men entering female jobs does not mean equality in the workspace, even though it can result in higher wages for everyone. On the contrary, the factor of the glass-escalator is at play and contributes to men earning more for the same position as well as men easier and faster reaching supervisory positions.

Another reason for the shift is that men have started to question the quality-of-life brought by working the long hours typically associated with male-dominated professions. As they take an larger part in home-making and child-rearing, they start value less stress and more time at home.

The article also mentions interviews in which about two dozen men emphasizes how their new professions are more satisfying. One of the men interviewed in the article compares his former job as a database consultant to his new one as a nurse, bringing up one example of a hug he recently received from the older sister of a premature baby he took care of. “It’s like, people get paid for doing this kind of stuff?”, he says, “choking up as he recounted the episode”. 

And here is where the real concern is - are we loosing something much more valuable than what we are gaining in our struggle for equality? 

Read the full article here.