CHAL­LENG­ING THE NORM

The Weekend Post - - Careers -

MEN of­ten can be dis­cour­aged from tra­di­tion­ally fe­male­dom­i­nated ca­reers but chal­leng­ing stereo­types can ac­tu­ally work in their favour. Just as women in male-dom­i­nated sec­tors can take ad­van­tage of gen­der bal­ance poli­cies, so too can men in fields such as nurs­ing, teach­ing, so­cial work and care.

A study led by Uni­ver­sity of Queens­land School of Psy­chol­ogy re­searcher Dr Court­ney von Hip­pel finds men work­ing in “pink-col­lar” pro­fes­sions may be vul­ner­a­ble to neg­a­tive gen­der stereo­types.

“Nurses, pri­mary school teachers and child pro­tec­tion work­ers are meant to be gen­tle and nur­tur­ing, traits that are stereo­typic of women but not men,” she says. “Stereo­types about men sug­gest they are un­likely to have the nec­es­sary traits to suc­ceed in pink-col­lar jobs, in which such stereo­typ­i­cally fe­male traits are thought to be crit­i­cal for suc­cess.

“Not only are men as­sumed to lack these fem­i­nine traits, but they are stereo­typed as ag­gres­sive, dom­i­nant and com­pet­i­tive – traits that are prob­lem­atic in many pink-col­lar jobs.”

De­spite the po­ten­tial is­sues, males in these in­dus­tries of­ten ex­cel in com­par­i­son to their fe­male coun­ter­parts. While males make up 32.9 per cent of sales as­sis­tants, they make up 51.7 per cent of retail man­agers, fig­ures from the Em­ploy­ment De­part­ment show.

Although just 6 per cent of child car­ers are males, this fig­ure jumps to 13 per cent for child care cen­tre man­agers. They make up just 14 per cent of pri­mary school teachers and 38 per cent of high school teachers but 43 per cent of school prin­ci­pals.

Fe­male-dom­i­nated roles also are less likely to be au­to­mated as many rely on hu­man in­ter­ac­tion, mak­ing pink-col­lar in­dus­tries a po­ten­tially more se­cure ca­reer choice.

Al­phaBeta re­port The Au­toma­tion Ad­van­tage pre­dicts jobs that largely com­prise in­ter­per­sonal tasks, cre­ative and de­ci­sion-mak­ing tasks and in­for­ma­tion syn­the­sis are least au­tomat­able. Nurses, teachers and car­ers are all among the work­ers who are at low­est risk of au­toma­tion.

Pic­ture: LIAM KID­STON

NOT PUT OFF: As­sis­tant prin­ci­pal Liam Beatty work­ing with stu­dents An­gus Jones and So­phie Rim­mer.

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