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I’ve Only Worked in Female-Dominant Jobs, Here’s Why

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

embracing the stereotypes rather than breaking them

While I was growing up, I was very aware of my gender and the roles associated with it, and I couldn’t be more eager to break them. I grew up as a tomboy and was constantly defying what was typical of girls my age, even into high school. But the distance I put between myself and traditional femininity was never about a disdain for it, but rather a desire to do what men did, and do it better than them. I noticed how men treated me, and particularly how “smart” men viewed my own intelligence as they also looked for reasons to compete with me. This is what fueled me to be different: I wanted to prove I was just as good as them. In particular, I wanted to work in a male-dominated field, because I figured that would earn me respect. But after working three female-dominated jobs and discovering my true values, that is no longer my goal. In fact, I would love nothing more than to end up in a stereotypical “female” career. Here’s why.

Maturing has allowed me to realize that certain fields are dominated by women and men for certain reasons. Social work and services, teaching, nursing, etc., all have something in common: people in those fields have a true passion and are willing to be of service to others even at the expense of their income and wellbeing, at times. Of course we know these fields are often underpaid, and not always respected. A woman who works as a social worker or teacher will not receive the same response as a woman who holds a high-earning corporate position. That’s exactly what pushed me away from female-dominated fields for so long. I didn’t want to feel like a stereotype; instead I wanted people to be shocked and impressed by my career.

Even in my major (economics) I’ve noticed a clear gender divide that’s been corroborated by every female economist I’ve talked to: men go into econometrics, finance, macroeconomics and trade and women go into applied microeconomics that deal with labor, government, the environment and development. In other words, men often focus on the big numbers and the economy as a whole, while women study human impacts. If you had talked to me three years ago, I’d probably beeline to the world of finance and banking just to prove I could. 

However, I’ve realized that what matters far more is a career I love and won’t be ostracized in. Despite my previous beliefs, I’ve actually only ever worked in female-dominated jobs, and would now find it difficult to give up that culture just to impress others. Beyond that, I find myself naturally drawn to stereotypical female fields, and I no longer see that as a weakness. My last three jobs were heavily female for a reason. My first job, Bath and Body Works, requires an outgoing, positive personality and a true willingness to help people regardless of the product’s “feminine” nature. My job in advising services similarly requires interpersonal skills, empathy and a desire to help students. And my most recent position, with the victims’ services office at the Department of Justice, requires a passion for helping others and ensuring their wellbeing along with the ability to deal with heavily emotional topics. After these experiences, I now seek female-dominated positions as I’ve felt the most welcomed and experienced the greatest passion for my work in these positions.

Working in a female-dominated field is not a weakness, but rather more commonly a sign of true passion and service to others. Furthermore, it’s rewarding to have a work environment that you know respects and values you, rather than having to fight for it everyday. And for the women who do break into male-dominated fields because it’s what they’re passionate about, I support them entirely and respect them for overcoming extra struggles to do it. But for myself, I would rather stay a stereotype if it means I’m happy.

Angie Bloechl

Wisconsin '25

Angie is a junior at UW-Madison this year studying economics. She love listening to podcasts, reading & painting!