Gender equality has got plenty of publicity recently, which is great but the bigger problem seems to be the stereotypes that still exist, especially around people’s perceptions of there being ‘men’s jobs’ and ‘women’s jobs’. Even with laws out there that encourage openness in professions, the gender inequality gap is still very much alive.
Ok, so some inroads have been made in that there are more male nurses in the health sector and a number of young women have broken through the technology barriers, but there’s still a lot of work to do in order to blur the gender divide.
Construction and building
There is still a massive gender imbalance in the construction and building industry with 97% of the average construction workforce being male. According to a recent report, this figure hasn’t changed in three decades!
Experts believe there are various obstacles for women looking to pursue a career in this industry with the most prevalent being workplace harassment on site. A U.S. Department of Labor report cites that nine out of ten women have experienced sexual harassment in the industry.
Health and social care
Women constitute approximately 82% of social workers with men accounting for less than 10%, so it’s safe to say it’s a predominantly female industry. Fewer men are entering the profession than ever before and whilst there have been no thorough investigations as to why, experts presume it is most likely due to social stigma.
Professionals in the industry are worried that the significant lack of men within social care roles could have a detrimental effect on men’s health. They argue that the high proportion of women in this field could alienate men who’re seeking mental health treatment, particularly if they are seeking help for sex or aggression related issues.
Although more women are choosing law as a profession – there have been significant increases in women studying masters in criminal justice online for instance – there are still very few women at the top of the legal profession. Only eight women hold senior management positions in the top 50 firms.
Some of the blame has been pointed at the way the firms are still firmly rooted in their traditions with female senior lawyers claiming it takes a lot of effort to intervene through structural changes in order to try and change the way things have always been.
It’s generally agreed that more needs to be done during the student phase when women are studying on criminal justice masters programs to promote ambition for leadership and similar qualities. Institutions such as Boston University are helping with this by persuading students to focus on what sets them apart from the competition.
There is still a lot to do to overcome the social stigmas and stereotypes men and women face when starting a career in such fields as these.
One thing the experts know for sure is that industries ruled by a specific gender will lack a capacity for innovation, which is enhanced by different perspectives and access to the best talent.
It’s believed that gender stereotypes are mostly initiated in schools and that educating the young could make a huge difference to the future of these industries.
It would be great to achieve an ideal employment balance on a national scale in most countries. But we’re still very much headed in the right direction.