Male Domination versus Female Domination:
Gender dominated fields. Although we hate to admit it, we all know they exist. The question is, how important is gender really?
Will it sway your chances? How will you be affected if you are the minority gender? How else does gender impact the workplace? These are all valid questions and concerns when thinking about careers.
Construction and engineering tend to have poor representation of women, while care and office jobs lack male representation. Technically speaking, A male-dominated field is one that is comprised of 25% or less women. There are a handful of industries that fit this definition today.
A female-dominated field embodies the same principle. These fields include Health and Beauty, Education and Nursing. While women make up as much as 75% of these fields, men are still more often employed in these female-dominated industries than vice-versa. Does this mean that gender plays a less significant role for males? It very well could, for several reasons.
The Disadvantages of Gender:
Even when women do break into these heavily male-dominated fields, they face more challenges than the men. The lack of mentoring and development opportunities along with sexual harassment are a couple of the challenges seen by females working in male-dominated industries.
These struggles may lead women to distance themselves from colleagues, accept masculine social norms or even leave the field. Male-dominated industries are more vulnerable to enforcing masculine stereotypes, making it more difficult for women to excel here or even ask for help when it is needed.
Besides issues within the workplace, women in male dominated fields face financial inequality as well. It is no surprise that the gender wage gap is still present in America. Not only are 26 out of the 30 highest paying jobs in America male-dominated, but females generally earn less than males to begin with. While this wage gap may be only a few dollars or cents per hour, it could add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars over the course of 30 years in the work force.
Gender also affects career aspirations. Men typically expect higher job levels during their career as opposed to women. Over 22% of women expect to remain in an entry-level position, compared to just 10% of men. The numbers also vary climbing up the ladder, with only 4% of women expecting to reach CEO positions, compared to 9% of men.
The same goes for salary expectations. More men expect to rake in 6 figures by the peak of their career than women. This logic is understandable considering the wage gap discussed earlier, but still an unfortunate case-and one that should not exist.
These lowered aspirations and expectations for women is due to their minority position in the workplace. How could a woman expect to climb the ladder as fast as males when their work is not even valued enough to be paid equally?
Breaking the Status Quo:
While we have concluded that gender domination is alive and well, we can also say we are on the road to change. Between 2016 and 2018 alone, women’s employment in male dominated fields rose 5%. This is proof that the workplace is evolving.
Women have made huge gains in fields that were always male dominated until recent years. Females now make up nearly 50% of the workforce for lawyers, veterinarians, marketing managers, optometrists, chemists and producers/directors.
As mentioned before, males have always faced less trouble when breaking into a field dominated by women. However, they have still evened out the numbers over recent years. We see more men becoming educators, nurses and care takers than ever before. This displays an overall decrease in the stigma of male and female jobs. You don’t need to be a woman to become a nurse just like you don’t need to be a male to become the top architect at your firm.
With changing times comes changing roles. Although there are still careers with less than 5% representation of women, such as firefighting, these fields are far less common than 20 years ago. Women take on roles in technology, law, engineering and many more industries as the stigma surrounding male and female jobs fades away.
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