Men Don't Want to Do Women's Work, Even if it Means They Don't Work At All

It’s time to face the facts from recent studies about men in the "pink-collar" workforce—most importantly, that men don't want to enter primarily female fields, according to The New York Times, even if they could earn more and have more job security.

Caregivers, therapists and nurse practitioners are on the up-and-up according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. These fields are some of the fastest growing pink-collar jobs, each boasting female populations of over 80 percent. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the greatest decline in two male-dominated occupations come 2024—locomotive firers and vehicle electronics installers and repairers. Each of these jobs are expected to shrink by at least 50 percent.

Pink seems to be replacing blue, and not everyone is happy about it. Tracy Dawson, a 53-year-old unemployed welder, told the Times, “I ain’t gonna be a nurse; I don’t have the tolerance for people.” On the topic of gender, he says, “I’ve always seen a woman in the position of a nurse or some kind of health care worker. I see it as more of a woman’s touch.” Dawson's living on disability insurance for rheumatoid arthritis.

What exactly is the basis for these views that men don't belong in women's work, and vice-versa? Well, let’s refer to a poster campaign established in the early 2000s that served to recruit men to the nursing field. The “Are You Man Enough?” campaign. Cue the eye rolls.


This poster, and another one that compares nursing with the adrenaline rush of mountain climbing, provide a source of comic relief. They're just so ridiculously gendered. Aren't we supposed to be past all that by now? But as the numbers show, we're not. Men still really don't want to work in fields they see as being dominated by women, even though, according to the Times, men in female-dominated fields end up getting promoted faster—the "glass elevator" at work. Dudes would rather be unemployed than work in a 'womanly' field where they'll literally get an easy ride to the top.

The specter of gender is ever present, even when it comes to women working high-powered jobs. While it seems like we've made a ton of progress in that department, stigma and stereotypes still linger. In recent interviews with candidates for the White House’s Cabinet positions, Trump campaign leader Kellyanne Conway raised her concerns about being a mother and working in the White House, and said she tries to get male applicants to put themselves in a woman's role. She said, “I do politely mention to them that the question isn’t ‘Would you take the job?’—the male sitting across from me who’s about to take a big role in the White House—but ‘Would you want your wife to?’ And you really see their entire visage change.”

It’s not a matter of can women assume these high-powered roles. It’s a matter of have they? Hillary Clinton talked a great deal in her presidential campaign about breaking the glass ceiling and establishing a place for women in society on the biggest male-dominated stage. With Trump’s ultimate triumph, it's hard not to wonder if the preservation of the glass ceiling means another four years of snowboarding nurses seeking an adrenaline rush.

But with “female” occupations on the rise, you boys better watch out—we’re looking at a little bit of pink on those collars of yours.  

About The Author

Morgan is a junior at Colgate University where she majors in Creative Writing and minors in Film & Media Studies.  On campus, Morgan is a New Member Educator for greek life's Kappa Kappa Gamma.  When she's not under stacks of English literature in the library, you can find her watching old reruns of Laguna Beach with her co-correspondent leader, Caroline Parsons.  An avid listener of country music, interior design fanatic, and diehard Bachelor spectator.  Check out the blogs and articles produced by Morgan, Caroline, and their diverse (just as weird) team of writers!

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