More Men Are Moving Into “Pink Collar” Professions

Once upon a time, a male kindergarten teacher or a male nurse was an oddity, even a novelty. But changing gender roles — and a turned-on-its-head economy — mean that more men than ever are working in what were previously considered to be “pink collar” jobs.

In an article about the trend today, The New York Times explains that “pink collar” jobs in fields like health care and home care/child care haven’t been bombed out by the economy because they cannot be outsourced and they are available to anyone without a college degree, regardless of gender. Hence, while jobs in all those fields are growing in general, the numbers of men working in them are increasing apace.

I’m interested in finding out if “pink collar” jobs will be affected in terms of prestige as more and more men join in. One of the problems of living in a sexist society is that men’s work is often considered more serious or more important than “women’s work.” Think, for example, about how stay-at-home mothers have done the unpaid labor of childcare for years, but as soon as more men start being stay-at-home-dads, everyone is falling over themselves to talk about what important work it is.

How will jobs like being a daycare worker or being a dental assistant change when the jobs are being performed by men? Will men be able to demand more money, coasting on the sexist stereotype that they need to out-earn women so they can support their family? (It seems likely. The Times reports, “Men earn more than women even in female-dominated jobs.” Good ol’ sexism.) Will men be promoted more to supervisory roles?  (Yes, again. It is called “the glass escalator,” whereas women get trapped at “the glass ceiling.”) Or will we see the reverse with discriminatory practices in hiring because because women are considered “more experienced” in these fields? 

Frisky readers, are you a male in a “pink collar” job? Or a woman with male colleagues in a “pink collar” job? Tell us about your experiences in the comments.

[New York Times]

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