This week, you might have heard that men are turning into women.
OK, well, technically it’s that more men are pursuing careers traditionally dominated by women, but from the fuss this news has caused, one might think it’s something more dramatic.
The New York Times reports that professions such as nursing and teaching have seen an influx of men into those fields in the last decade.
They’re seeking stable jobs as bank tellers and receptionists that might not finance a McMansion, but can pay the rent, as well as cause less stress and provide more family time.
In fact, census data shows that jobs whose ranks are made up of 70% or more women accounted for a third of job growth for men between 2000 and 2010, which is twice the amount of the previous decade.
As you can see, the shift has been happening for a while. Despite men losing a disproportionate number of jobs during the recession (remember “mancession?”), for many men, entering predominantly female fields isn’t a reactionary step.
Speaking of made up words, the fields in question are being called “pink collar,” and while before 1990 these men in pink tended to be foreign-born non-English speakers with limited career options, they now represent all races and ages, and a third of them have college degrees.
It stands to reason that men entering predominantly female fields will face similar challenges as women entering predominantly male fields, right? Wrong.
“Men earn more than women even in female-dominated jobs. And white men in particular who enter those fields easily move up to supervisory positions, a phenomenon known as the glass escalator—as opposed to the glass ceiling that women encounter in male-dominated professions,” says the Times.
Sigh. Despite the glass escalators and glass ceiling (fragile structure, no?) and the mancession and the pink collars, we would do well to remember that things are, in fact, changing. Part of the reason men are seeking out new careers is to be more involved with their families. When some parents divorce, it’s women who pay alimony. Work stress weighs on people of both sexes.
We can only hope that in the future, we won’t have jobs differentiated by sex or by collar. We’ll just have jobs.