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"feminine" jobs/professions.Nursing,childcare....are the reasons that they are paid less,despite generally requiring graduate qualifications,an indication of societal devaluation of "womens work?"

(151 Posts)
MavisEnderby Sun 26-Jun-11 22:30:26


MavisEnderby Sun 26-Jun-11 22:33:04

I guess I could have shortened the title..

MavisEnderby Sun 26-Jun-11 22:34:54

Additionally,shite grammar and spelling,sorry.

LRDTheFeministNutcase Sun 26-Jun-11 22:37:10

Yes. Imo.

Especially since some of these jobs have an effect on whether or not women can have children and a job - childminding obviously but teaching too - so there's a nasty pressure or women to end up in a situation where one group is angry at the other, when both groups (those who need childcare and those who provide it) are being screwed over.

OpusProSerenus Sun 26-Jun-11 22:40:28

I think there probably is. Many years ago in a previous job I belonged to USDAW, they told us that shopworkers are among the lowest paid and worst treated because they are female, part-time and think themselves lucky to have any job. The same applies to many other jobs.

rainbowtoenails Mon 27-Jun-11 03:57:09

Yes, the way to make these jobs better paid would be to encourage men into them.

GothAnneGeddes Mon 27-Jun-11 13:29:10

Yes. Definitely. Also the perception of these jobs. Hence the endless belating that nursing don't need to be educated, just a nice manner and a willingness to get their hands dirty (although nurses do need this too).

I hate the perception of nursing as drugery. While I agree nurses should be paid more, they are on above the average wage and I do know plenty of nurses who take home very nice salaries indeed. Deservedly so, as they're at the top of their pay bands and have years of experience, but it annoys me that people think we earn minimum wage.

Note men in nursing is a double edged sword as they tend to illustrate sexism in action as they get promoted super fast and are vastly overrepresented in the senior bands.

Wamster Mon 27-Jun-11 13:30:37

As regards nursing in England, it will become an all-graduate profession in 2013. The pay will not rise to match this. To be honest, I think there is no need to make it a graduate profession. Yes, intelligence and common sense is required, but one has to ask that the great dream of nursing becoming an all-graduate profession is not really doing the people that matter- i.e. the patients- any real good if doctors now have to prescribe water for patients to drink!

It makes me a bit sick to be honest.

a, Because something is seriously amiss if- in spite of nurses being more 'highly educated'- doctors have to prescribe liquid.

b, the masochism of the powers-that-be that insist upon more academic work for nurses while not compensating nurses via pay.

I cannot help but think that if more men were at the top of this profession, this would NOT be the case. Sorry, but it is how I see it. You did ask smile

Peachy Mon 27-Jun-11 13:36:51

I agree with the premise of the op

I am close to my MA yet will likely make less than my less qualified male relatives and loved ones, as I am in a 'female' field: indeed I ahve in the distant past been hurt in my field so it can be dangerous.

These are also roles likely to face cuts, as they are considered female roles then females can just pick up the slack, right? Education, healthcare, caring.

An example IMO is the way thatc arer's allowance is set to 'cover wages lost through an inability to accept paid employment', largely paid to females, and set at £55 a week. Becuase cosiety sees women's roles as secondary and not the 'breadwinner' main income.

GothAnneGeddes Mon 27-Jun-11 13:39:36

Can you prove that doctors have to prescribe water?

Also, making nursing an all-graduate profession will bring it in line with the allied health professions (physio, radiography etc). One could argue that nurses have been fortunate to start on the same pay band as the AHP's despite most not having degrees.

Plus there are numerous studies showing that better educated nurses = lower death rates.

boysrock Mon 27-Jun-11 13:41:51

wamster nursing has an inferiority complex, imo. the doctors prescribing water was at stafford in response to abysmal levels of care mostly due to appalling management

I think the premise of the op is true - if you look at comparable male dominated jobs they are perceived to be of higher eg police. the police I note do not have to have training, yet for equivalent responsibility they are on a few thousand more pay at basic and entry level.

They also have better compensation for over time (or did) and dont work unpaid over time to the same extent as nurses. I don't begrudge this but I would like to see the day when someone brings an sex discrimination claim against the (any) government. <waits for flying pig> as the council workers did.

HerBeX Mon 27-Jun-11 13:50:16

I agree with the basic premise.

And I disagree that the way to raise the status of these prfessions, is to bring men in. All that happens as has been noted, is that men get fast tracked to the senior positions while the rest of the women in that profession remain in low pay low status positions. The over-reprsentation of men at headteacher level is a perfect example.

The way to raise the status of these professions and of the work that is done, is to raise the status of women.

TryLikingClarity Mon 27-Jun-11 16:20:56

I agree with what you're getting at, but not sure if this is true in practice.

Also, who defines what is a 'feminine' career? Media, society etc? Is a feminine job one where people are being cared for and personal care is being completed?

I was on path to finish a social work degree and quit it recently. There were several reasons for my choice, which I won't go into now, but I did see a lot of gender disparity on the course. Only a handful in the class were male, yet they were the ones who talked about wanting senior posts and management experience. The tutors seemed to think this was normal and reflected in RL.

I know men who are nurses and have seen people give them odd looks or assume they are doctors due to their gender.

I really agree with the last sentence of HerBeX that really is key in sooo many areas! Start with valuing the role mothers play and take it from there, imo.

motherinferior Mon 27-Jun-11 16:22:31

No, HerBeX said raise the status of women. I actually do not particularly want to be revered for having given birth.

OP, yep, agree.

motherinferior Mon 27-Jun-11 16:23:01

My being a parent is quite separate from my job.

TrilllianAstra Mon 27-Jun-11 16:28:41

Is it not more to do with market forces?

If there were a shortage of people willing to be nursery workers then nursery owners would put up the pay to encourage nursery workers to work in their nursery and not the one across the road. As it is there are plenty of people willing and able to work in nurseries, so the pay is low because if someone thinks hte pay is too low and leaves, there are plenty more people to fill the gap.

TryLikingClarity Mon 27-Jun-11 16:32:28

Motherinferior I saw what HerBeX said, and I do agree with her point. My point extended that to mention mothers.

All women are great, but having recently given birth I want a bit of status (at least in my own RL) for that.

slug Mon 27-Jun-11 16:36:24

It's a well documented phenomonon. (sp?) As jobs become more feminised their status drops.

Secretaries. Once a high status male job.
Teaching. While primary teaching has traditionally been a female job, secondary teaching used to be high status and well paid. As women now dominate secondary teaching, the status has dropped. (see Michael Gove)
Medicine. The lowest status medicine jobs are the ones with the most women. e.g. more women are GPs than consultants. Neurosurgery and Cardio thoracic surgery have very few women despite there being more female medical graduates than male.
Law is also sliding down the status ladder, except in the male dominated areas of corporate and banking law.

Banking, however, being almost exclusively male is very high status and therefore very well paid.

slug Mon 27-Jun-11 16:38:25

Sorry, investment banking is male dominated and high status. As opposed to retail banking which has a much better gender mix and therefore is lower status.

motherinferior Mon 27-Jun-11 16:40:18

So women who haven't given birth aren't as valuable as those who have? What about Bad Mothers? What about adoptive parents? What about lesbian co-parents?

It's a different debate. And I don't want special status at work for being a mother, I want the rights of a parent, which means extending them to my (incidentally male) co-parent and generally getting fathers to pull their fingers out and not make female genitalia automatically equated to less worthy of promotion.

3littlefrogs Mon 27-Jun-11 16:41:50

In answer to the op, Yes.

TrilllianAstra Mon 27-Jun-11 16:45:12

<slightly off topic>

Do parents need extra rights at work at all (apart from maternity/paternity leave)? Can't everyone have the right to flexible working just because it's nice to be able to work part-time or do some work from home? If everyone was equally likely to say "I need to take one of my allocated short-notice-days-off tomorrow" then employers couldn't think "I don't want to emply a woman of childbearing age because she'll take days off when her children are sick".

motherinferior Mon 27-Jun-11 16:53:16

actually, Trillian, I agree grin and I also think people without kids should be entitled to flexible working in order to do Other Stuff, like writing a book or just doing not very much at all.

TryLikingClarity Mon 27-Jun-11 18:32:19

Motherinferior - no offence was meant to you, sorry if me mentioning being a mother got you wound up. To be honest, I felt the same on the topic of women in the workplace before I had DS. I agree with your point that non-parents and parents should both be allowed flexible working. I would have loved to work flexible hours at any stage in my career - roll on the day that that is encouraged by Gov!

somethingwitty82 Mon 27-Jun-11 19:29:31

supply vs demand.

Shop workers are low paid because they can be replaced at the drop of hat with someone with one hours training. Seems to be mainly students nowadays anyhoo

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