22 Aug Why Are There So Few Male Nurses and Kindergarten Teachers?
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Healthcare workers and teachers are incredibly central to how we function as a society. We are having trouble filling these positions, and especially men are underrepresented in them.
In the U.S. men represent only about 10% of nurses and 4% of pre-school and kindergarten teachers. We wanted to know how men’s more basic values play into this.
Our main finding is that tend men see less importance in care-oriented careers then women do, and we find that this could be tied to the more basic values feel are important to them personally.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: We find that people in general, but especially men, seem to devalue care-oriented careers, like nurse or elementary school teacher. Men specifically think that these careers are less interesting, and less important to society than careers in science and technology. We find that this is tied their the more basic values that men and women hold:
On average, men tend to have less communal values than women – meaning they generally see a little bit less importance in taking care of others. We find that people who find these communal values generally less important also don’t tend to see the value in care-oriented careers, like nurse of preschool teacher. We think men’s undervaluing of these careers is really a problem because these careers are important to how our society functions and we need more men in them.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: It makes sense that men only want to take on careers that they feel are important on a broader sense. Our research suggests that, if we want to attract more men into care-oriented careers, we might want to look more into emphasizing that care-oriented careers are really valuable. In some other countries people really value careers like teaching. Some countries, like Japan and Mexico put a lot of importance in communal values and in those countries, coincidentally, there are also more men in care-oriented careers like teaching in these countries. We might want to look to other countries to see where care-oriented careers are highly valued. So, we are hoping to do more research on examining how to emphasize the value of care-oriented professions to make men more motivated to consider these careers.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Gender equality is not only about getting women into certain careers. We need more men in healthcare and education, and our work suggest one way to do that is to emphasize the value that these careers have to society.
Katharina Block, Alyssa Croft, Toni Schmader. Worth Less?: Why Men (and Women) Devalue Care-Oriented Careers. Frontiers in Psychology, 2018; 9 DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01353
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