Williams_glass+escalator

Williams_glass+escalator - \ullfie . . , .. H x"....

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Unformatted text preview: \ullfie . . , .. H x". ‘nis Material May ltd Pl‘OteCk’d by “Pyrl'm xi :fl‘wlv ~ cl: 3: 9'2? ' ‘2‘ :1? *1 k) “‘6 kw U5. 4 9.». , . .t .. , 431.4; g J. ,, ageing: r. so 4 ” ’Wji'he Glass Escalator: Hidden Advantages for I . 0 at pp 0 0:533:21? Men 111 the Female Professrons“ mm or Health and CHRISTINE L. WILLIAMS, University of Texas at Austin MAR 5 2805 tts deg)" Gun—cm This paper addresses men‘s underrepresentan'on in [our predominantly female professions.- nursing, ele- mentary school teaching, librarianship, and social work. Specifically, it examines the degree to which discrimi- _ nation disadvantages men in hiring and promotion decinbns, the work place culture, and in interambnr with th International clients. III-depth interviews were conducted m'th 99 men and women in these professle in four major US. )cvcjopmcm cities. The interview data sugest that men do not fizce discrimination in these occupan'arm however, they dc encounter prejudice from individuals outside their profess-thus. In contrast to the experience of men who enter maleaantt'nated professtbns. men generally mounter structural advantages in these octuputiatts which tend to enhance their careers. Because men face difl'erent barriers to buegranng nontradinbnal occupations than wnien face, the need for dtfl’erent remedies to dismantle segregation in predominantly female jobs is emphasized. The sex segregation of the us. labor force is one of the most perplexing and tenacious problems in our society. Even though the proportion of men and women in the labor force is approaching parity (particularly for younger cohorts of workers) (US. Department of Labor l99|:18), men and women are still generally confined to predominantly single sex occupa- tions. Forty percent of men or women would have to change major occupational categories to achieve equal representation of men and women in all jobs (Reskin and R005 199026), but even this figure underestimates the true degree of sex segregation. It is extremely rare to find specific jobs where equal numbers of men and women are engaged in the same activities in the same industries (Bielby and Baron 1984). Most studies of sex segregation in the work force have focused on women's experiences in male-dominated occupations. Both researchers and advocates for social change have fo- cused on the barriers faced by women who try to integrate predominantly male fields. Few have looked at the "flip-side" of occupational sex segregation: the exclusion of men from predominantly female occupations (exceptions include Schreiber 1979: Williams [989: Zim. mer 1988). But the fact is that men are less likely to enter female sex-typed occupations than women are to enter maledominated jobs (Jacobs 1989). Reskin and R005. for example. were able to identify 33 occupations in which female representation increased by more than nine percentage points between 1970 and [980. but only three occupations in which the propor- tion of men increased as radically (1990:20-2l). In this paper, [ examine men's underrepresentation in four predominantly female occu. pations—nursing. librarianship. elementary school teaching. and social work. Throughout the twentieth century. these occupations have been identified with "women's work"—even though prior to the Civil War, men were more likely to be employed in these areas. These four occupations, often called the female "semi-professions” (Hodson and Sullivan 1990), to- day range from 5.5 percent male (in nursing) to 32 percent male (in social work). (See Table a I.) These percentages have not changed substantially in decades. In fact. as Table 1 indicates, two of these professions—librarianship and social work—have experienced declines in the t This research was funded in part by a faculty grant from the University of Texas at Austin. I also acknowledge the suppon of the sociology departments of the University oi California. Berkeley: Harvard University: and Arilona State University. I would like to thank Judy Auetbach. Martin Button. Robert Nye. Teresa Sullivan. Debra Umberson. Mary Waters. and the reviewers at Sacral Problems for their comments on earlier versions of this paper, Correspondence to: Williams. Department of Sociology. the University of Texas at Austin. Austin. TX 78712-1088. SOCIAL PROBIIMS, Vol. 39. Na. 3, August I992 253 254 WILLIAMS Table l - Percent Male in selected Ocarptart'om. Selected Years M Profession ' [990 [980 I 9 75 M Nurses 5.5 3.5 3.0 Elementary teachers 14.8 [6.3 14.6 Librarians 16.7 14.8 18.9 Social workers 31.8 35.0 39.2 M Source: US. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment and Earnings 38:1 (January 199”, Table 22 (Employed civilians by detailed occupation). 18$; 282l (January 198]). Table 23 (Employed persons by detailed occupation), 180. 22:7 (January 1976). Table 2 (Employed persons by detailed occupation). Ii. proportions of men since 1975. Nursing is the only one of the four experiencing noticeable changes in sex composition, with the proportion of men increasing 80 percent between 1975 and 1990. Even so. men continue to be a tiny minority of all nurses. Although there are many possible reasons for the continuing preponderance of women in these fields, the focus of this paper is discrimination. Researchers examining the integra- tion of women into "male fields" have identified discrimination as a major barrier to women (Jacobs 1989; Reskin 1988: Reskin and Hartmann 1986). This discrimination has taken the form of laws or institutionalized rules prohibiting the hiring or promotion of women into certain job specialties. Discrimination can also be "informal." as when women encounter sexual harassment. sabotage, or other forms of hostility from their male co-workers resulting in a poisoned work environment (Reskin and Hartmann 1986). Women in nontraditional occupations also report feeling stigmatized by clients when their work puts them in contact with the public. In particular, women in engineering and blue~collar occupations encounter gender-based stereotypes about their competence which undermine their work performance (Epstein 1988: Martin 1980). Each of these forms of discrimination—legal. informal, and cul- tural—contributes to women's underrepresentation in predominantly male occupations. The-assumption in much of this literature is that any member of a token group in a work setting will probably experience similar discriminatory treatment. Kanter (1977). who is best known for articulating this perspective in her theory of tokenism, argues that when any group represents less than 15 percent of an organization. its members will be subject to prev dictable forms of discrimination. Likewise, Jacobs argues that "in some ways. men in female- dominated occupations experience the same difficulties that women in male-dominated occu- pations face" (1989:167), and Reskin contends that any dominant group in an occupation will use their power to maintain a privileged position (1988:62). However. the few studies that have considered men's experience in gender atypical occu- pations suggest that men may not face discrimination or prejudice when they integrate predominantly female occupations. Zimmer (1988) and Martin (1988) both contend that the effects of sexism can outweigh the effects of tokenism when men enter nontraditional occupa- tions. This study is the first to systematically explore this question using data from four occu- pations. I examine the barriers to men's entry into these professions: the support men receive from their supervisors, colleagues and clients; and the reactions they encounter from the pub- lic (those outside their professions). Methods I conducied in~depth interviews with 76 men and 23 women in four occupations from 1985-1991. Interviews were conducted in four metropolitan areas: San Francisco/Oakland. California: Austin, Texas: Boswn, Massachusetts: and Phoenix, Arizona. These four areas were selected because I fessions. For exai cent), whereas Pi Census 1980). Th cluded in the sa professions. Like the pet predominantly w 38. The interviev ics: motivation t( eral views about interviews, whici restaurants. my i recorded and trar Data analysis was read several principle of theor to capture the am ers in every SpCCI male kindergartei hierarchies—frorr within group com of experiences cor ings based on qu. population of me: in this paper. practices, on~the-j« others outside the Discrimina Contrary to ti the men and worr. occupations. A Te a male over a fen 1: Why do yo= R: Because th: . . . think they' something. [but junior high. . . tributed. there ' some who had school as librar the junior high i. According to ll of all elementary schoc I97). The proportion c "social worker" used by ered "professional" son. that 59 percent of prac f [975 i 3.0 l4.6 l8.9 39.2 (January 199]). Table 22 oyed persons by detailed Ionl. ll. riencing noticeable rcent between I975 .derance of women nining the integra- r barrier to women ition has taken the on of women into women encounter yworkers resulting i in nontraditional its them in contact ipations encounter work performance informal, and cul‘ e occupations. :n group in a work (1977), who is best es that when any I be subject to pre- ys. men in female- e~dominated occu- an occupation will tder atypical occu- en they integrate i contend that the raditional occupa- ta from four occu- pport men receive iter from the pub- occupations from 'ancisco/Oakland. se four areas were Men in the "Female" Professions selected because they show considerable variation in the proportions of men in the four pro- fessions. For example, Austin has one of the highest percentages of men in nursing (7.7 per- cent). whereas Phoenix's percentage is one of the lowest (2.7 percent) (US. Bureau of the Census 1980). The sample was generated using "snowballing" techniques. Women were in- cluded in the sample to gauge their feelings and responses to men who enter "their" professions. Like the people employed in these professions generally, those in my sample were predominantly white (90 percent).' Their ages ranged from 20 to 66 and the average age was 38. The interview questionnaire consisted of several open-ended questions on four broad top ics: motivation to enter the profession: experiences in training: career progression; and gen- eral views about men's status and prospects within these occupations. I conducted all the interviews, which generally lasted between one and two hours. Interviews took place in restaurants, my home or office, or the respondent’s home or office. Interviews were tape- recorded and transcribed for the analysis. Data analysis followed the coding techniques described by Strauss ( 1987). Each transcript was read several times and analyzed into emergent conceptual categories. Likewise, Strauss' principle of theoretical sampling was used. Individual respondents were purposiver selected to capture the array of men's experiences in these occupations. Thus, I interviewed practition- ers in every specialty, oversampling those employed in the nuns! gender atypical areas (e.g., male kindergarten teachers). I also selected respondents from throughout their occupational hierarchies—from students to administrators to retirees. Although the data do not permit within group comparisons, I am reasonably certain that the sample does capture a wide range of experiences common to men in these femaledominated professions. However. like all find- ings based on qualitative data, it is uncertain whether the findings generalize to the larger population of men in nontraditional occupations. [n this paper. 1 review individuals' responses to questions about discrimination in hiring practices. on-the-job rapport with supervisors and coworkers, and prejudice from clients and others outside their profession. Discrimination in Hiring Contrary to the experience of many women in the male-dominated professions, many of the men and women I spoke to indicated that there is a preference for hiring men in these four occupations. A Texas librarian at a junior high school said that his school district "would hire a male over a female." I: Why do you think that is? R: Because there are so few, and the . . . ones that they do have, the library directors seem to really . . . think they're doing great jobs. I don't know, maybe they just feel they‘re being progressive or something. [but] I have had a real sense that they really appreciate having a male, particularly at the junior high. . . . As I said. when seven of us lost our jobs from the high schools and were redis- tributed. there were only four positions at junior high. and I got one of them. Three of the librarians. some who had been here longer than I had with the school district, were put down in elementary school as librarians. And I definitely think that being male made a difference in my being moved to the junior high rather than an elementary school. 1. According to the Us. Census. black men and women comprise 7 percent ofall nurses and librarians. ll percent of all elementary school teachers, and I9 percent of all social workers (calculated from US. Census I980: Table 278. l- l97). The proportion of blacks in social work may be exaggerated by these statistics. The occupational definition of "social worker" used by the Census Bureau includes welfare workers and pardon and parole officers. who are not consid- ered "professional" social workers by the National Association of Social Workers. A study of degreed professionals found that 89 patent of practitioners were white (Hardcastle I937). I” 256 WILLIAMS Many of the men perceived their token status as males in predominantly female occupations as an advantage in hiring and promotions. I asked an Arizona teacher whether his specialty (elementary special education) was an unusual area for men compared to other areas within education. He said, Much more so. i am extremely marketable in special education. That’s not why i got into the field. But i am extremely marketable because I am a man. in several cases, the more female-dominated the specialty, the greater the apparent preference for men. For example, when asked if he encountered any problem getting a job in pediatrics, a Massachusetts nurse said. No, no. none. . . . i've heard this from managers and supervisoryaype people with men in pediatrics: “It's nice to have a man because it’s such a femaledominated profession.” However, there were some exceptions to this preference for men in the most female— dominated specialties. In some cases, formal policies actually barred men from certain jobs. This was the case in some rural Texas school districts, which refused to hire men in the youn- gest grades (K-3). Some nurses also reported being excluded from positions in obstetrics and gynecology wards, a policy encountered more frequently in private Catholic hospitals. But often the pressures keeping men out of certain specialties were more subtle than this. Some men described being "tracked" into practice areas within their professions which were considered more legitimate for men. For example, one Texas man described how he was pushed into administration and planning in social work, even though "i’m not interested in writing policy: I'm much more interested in research and clinical stuff." A nurse who is interested in pursuing graduate Study in family and child health in Boston said he was dis- suaded from entering the program specialty in favor of a concentration in "adult nursing." A kindergarten teacher described the difficulty of finding a job in his specialty after graduation: "I was recruited immediately to start getting into a track to become an administrator. And it was men who recruited me. it was men that ran the system at that time, especially in Los Angeles." This tracking may bar men from the most female-identified specialties within these pro- fessions. But men are effectively being "kicked upstairs” in the process. Those specialties considered more legitimate practice areas for men also tend to be the most prestigious. better paying ones. A distinguished kindergarten teacher, who had been voted city-wide "Teacher of the Year," told me that even though people were pleased to see him in the classroom, "there‘s been some encouragement to think about administration, and there's been some en- couragement to think about teaching at the university level or something like that, or supervi- sory-type position." That is, despite his aptitude and interest in staying in the classroom, he felt pushed in the direction of administration. The effect of this "tracking" is the opposite of that experienced by women in male-domi- nated occupations. Researchers have reported that many women encounter a "glass ceiling" in their efforts to scale organizational and professional hierarchies. That is, they are con strained by invisible barriers to promotion in their careers. caused mainly by the sexist atti- tudes of men in the highest positions (Freeman 1990).2 In contrast to the "glass ceiling," many of the men 1 interviewed seem to encounter a "glass escalator." Often. despite their inten- tions. they face invisible pressures to move up in their professions. As if on a moving escala- tor, they must work to stay in place. A public librarian specializing in children's collections (a heavily female-dominated con- centration) described an encounter with this "escalator" in his very first job out of library 2. In April Will. the labor Department created a "Glass Ceiling Comminion‘ to “conduct a thorough study oi the underrepresentation of women and minorities in executive. management. and senior decision-making positions in busi— ness" (US. House of Representatives l99l:20). .-._______. .-.——.———.. school. in his first six in storytelling and re Seriously. That'in they told me this— doing the kind of 1 really they had a believe this! Throughout his tent, The glass escalat some gender-based ( ment to affirmative . of promotion to dea; dean as a guarantee tration. One Califor dean because no mi was rumored that searchesr—even tho' cause the higher adi the social work sch work in the lower i . Of course, men positions. I do not 1 they experienced. sions helped them I as a school social wt encouraged to leaw to tell you the truth right to me." Anot large urban area it The more 1 thin administration. a question that 3 the field. i was because I‘m a m u, may have co doing adminisu Elsewhere 1 have single-sex work en accounting for mt But these occupat desires or motives The interviev attributed to disc received preferen discrimination in culine" specialties ter paying and m Men in the "Female" Professions 257 female occupations school. In his first six-months' evaluation, his supervisors commended him for his good work hether his specialty v other areas within by I got into the field. :pparent preference a job in pediatrics, ith men in pediatrics: l the most female from certain jobs. .- men in the youn~ s in obstetrics and lie hospitals. re subtle than this. ssions which were ibed how he was I not interested in ' A nurse who is n said he was dis- ‘adult nursing." A I after graduation: iinistrator. And it especially in Los within these pro- Those specialties prestigious, better ty-wide "Teacher in the classroom, is been some en- : that, or supervi- he classroom, he en in male-domio ‘ a "glass ceiling" is. they are con- )y the sexist atti- ss ceiling." many :pite their inten- a moving escala- dominated con- rb out of library 'iorough study of the ing positions in busi- in storytelling and related activities, but they criticized him for "not shooting high enough." Seriously. That's literally what they were telling me. They assumed that because I was a malHnd they told me this—and that I was being hired right out of graduate school, that somehow I wasn't doing the kind of management-oriented work that they thought I should be doing. And as a result. really they had a lot of bad marks, as it were, against me on my evaluation. And I said I couldn't believe this! Throughout his ten-year career, he has had to struggle to remain in children’s collections The glass escalator does not operate at all levels. In particular, men in academia reported some gender-based discrimination in the highest positions due to their universities' commit ment to affirmative action. Two nursing professors reported that they felt their own chances of promotion to deanships were nil because their universities viewed the position of nursing dean as a guaranteed female appointment in an otherwise heavily maledominated adminis- tration. One California social work professor reported his university canceled its search for a dean because no minority male or female candidates had been placed on their short list. It was rumored that other schools on campus were permitted to go forward with their searches—even though they also failed to put forward names of minority candidates—be cause the higher administration perceived it to be "easier" to fulfill affirmative action goals in the social work school. The interviews provide greater evidence of the "glass escalator" at work in the lower levels of these professions. Of course, men‘s motivations also play a role in their advancement to higher professional positions. I do not mean to suggest that the men I talked to all resented the informal tracking they experienced. For many men, leaving the most female-identified areas of their profes- sions helped them resolve internal conflicts involving their masculinity. One man left his job as a school social worker to work in a methadone drug treatment program not because he was encouraged to leave by his colleagues, but because "I think there was some macho shit there, to tell you the truth, because I remember feeling a little uncomfortable there . . . ; it didn't feel right to me." Another social worker, employed in the mental health services department of a large urban area in California, reflected on his move into administration: The more I think about it, through our discussion. I'm sure that's a large part of why I wound up in administration. It’s okay for a man to do the administration. In fact, I don't know ifl fully answered a question that you asked a little while ago about how did being male conn'ibute to my advancing in the field. I was saying it wasn't because I got any special favoritism as a man. but . . . I think . . . because I'm a man. I felt a need to get into this kind of position. I may have worked harder toward it. may have competed harder for it. than most women would do, even women who think about doing administrative work. Elsewhere 1 have speculated on the origins of men's tendency to define masculinity through single-sex work environments (Williams 1989). Clearly, personal ambition does play a role in accounting for men's movement into more “male-defined" arenas within these professions. But these occupations also structure opportunities for males independent of their individual desires or motives. The interviews suggest that men's underrepresentation in these professions cannot be attributed to discrimination in hiring or promotions. Many of the men indicated that they received preferential treatment because they were men. Although men mentioned gender discrimination in the hiring process. for the most part they were channelled into more "mas— culine” specialties within these professions, which ironically meant being "tracked" into bet- ter paying and more prestigious specialties. 238 WILLIAMS Supervisors and Colleagues: The Working Environment Researchers claim that subtle forms of work place discrimination push women out of male-dominated occupations (Jacobs 1989; Reskin and Hartmann 1986). In particular, wo- men report feeling excluded from informal leadership and decision-making networks. and they sense hostility from their male co—workers, which makes them feel uncomfortable and unwanted (Carothers and Crull 1984). Respondents in this study were asked about their rela- tionships with supervisors and female colleagues to ascertain whether men also experienced "poisoned" work environments when entering gender atypical occupations. A major diflerence in the experience of men and women in nontraditional occupations is that men in these situations are far more likely to be supervised by a member of their own sex. In each of the four professions I studied, men are overrepresented in administrative and managerial capacities, or, as is the case of nursing, their positions in the organizational hierar~ chy are governed by men (Grimm and Stern 1974: Phenix 1987; Schmuck l9_87; Williams 1989; York. Henley and Gamble 1987). Thus, unlike women who enter "male fields,” the men in these professions often work under the direct supervision of 'other men. Many of the men interviewed reported that they had good rapport with their male super- visors. Even in professional school, some men reported extremely close relationships with their male professors. For example, a Texas librarian described an unusually intimate associa- tion with two male professors in graduate school: i can remember a lot of times in the classroom there would be discussions about a particular topic or issue. and the conversation would spill over into their office hours. after the class was over. And even though there were . . . a couple of the other women that had been in on the discussion, they weren't there. And i don't know if that was preferential or not . . . it certainly carried over into personal life as well. Not just at the school and that sort of thing. i mean, we would get together for dinner . . . These professors explicitly encouraged him because he was male: [2 Did they ever offer you explicit words of encouragement about being in the profession by virtue of the fact that you were male? . . . R: Definitely. On several occasions. Yeah. Both of these guys. for sure, including the Dean who was male also. And it’s an interesting point that you bring up because it was. oftentimes, kind of in a sign. you know. It wasn’t in the classroom. and it wasn't in front of the group. or if we were in the student lounge or something like that. it was . . . if it was just myself or maybe another one of the guys. you know. and just talking in the office. it's like . . . you know. kind of an opening-up and saying. "You know. you are really lucky that you're in the profession because you'll really go to the top real quick. and you'll be able to make real definite improvements and changes. And you'll have a real influence." and all this sort of thing. I mean. really. I can remember several times. Other men reported similar closeness with their professors. A Texas psychotherapist recalled his relationships with his male professors in social work school: I made it a point to make a golfing buddy with one of the guys that was in administration. He and I played golf a lot. He was the guy who kind of ran the research training, the research pan of the master's program. Then there was a sociologist who ran the other pan of the research program. He and l developed a good friendship. This close mentoring by male professors contrasts with the reported experience of women in nontraditional occupations. Others have noted a lack of solidarity among women in nontradi- tional occupations. Writing about military academies, for example. Yoder describes the failure of token women to mentor succeeding generations of female cadets. She argues that women attempt to play down their gender difference from men because it is the source of scorn and derision. Because women felt unaccepted by their male colleagues, one of the last things they wanted to do ..-.._.—....._.. . “m.” was to emphast men. this wou}. women despera thing from not = women. (Yoder Men in nontraditi positive difference. distinctiveness fro: Close. persona established in thei; the male principa teacher describes: Occasionally 1’» us against them feel like there’s These personal tic California nurse. \ transferred to the ship with the phys personal interest i' 1: You had rm wanted to bring you‘re a man. a R: Yes. I wou common, certan l: Vis-a-vis tea R: Well, more along real well Interviewees them, or refusing more likely to rep sions. When aske Texas nurse said: i think yeah. so physicians treat way than the 1r. him. Kind of ii equal basis, in t- or there's some A Texas teacher p l’ve never felt u felt are doing ti fact. they're prz Openly gay n sors. For example ferred to staff the I Stigma associated “masculine” qualit ties for men. It push women out of ). In particular, wo- rking networks, and l uncomfortable and ked about their rela- ten also experienced )ns. tional occupations is ember of their own , administrative and rganizational hierar- uck 1987: Williams tale fields." the men n. th their male super- - relationships with My intimate associa- it a particular topic or class was over. And i the discussion, they nly carried over into vould get together for - profession by virtue uding the Dean who ftentimes. kind of in or if we were in the e another one of the 'an opening-up and ou‘ll really go to the :es. And you'll have eral times. Ithcrapist recalled 1istration. He and l ‘esearch part of the search program. He nce of women in nien in nontradi- cribes the failure :ues that women trce of scorn and they wanted to do Men in the "Female" Professions was to emphasize their gender. Some women thought that, if they kept company with other wo men. this would highlight their gender and would further isolate them from male cadets. These women desperately wanted to be accepted as cadets. not as men cadets. Therefore, they did every. thing from not wearing skirts as an option with their uniforms to avoiding being a part of a group of women. (Yoder 19891532) Men in nontraditional occupations face a different scenario—their gender is construed as a positive difference. Therefore. they have an incentive to bond together and emphasize their distinctiveness from the female majority. Close, personal ties with male supervisors were also described by men once they were established in their professional careers. it was not uncommon in education. for example, for the male principal to informally socialize with the male staff, as a Texas special education teacher describes: Occasionally I've had a principal who would regard me as “the other man on the campus~ and "it‘s us against them," you know? I mean. nothing really that extreme, except that some male principals feel like there’s nobody there to talk to except the other man. So I've been in that position. These personal ties can have important consequences for men's careers. For example, one California nurse, whose performance was judged marginal by his nursing supervisors. was transferred to the emergency room staff (a prestigious promotion) due to his personal friend ship with the physician in charge. A Massachusetts teacher acknowledged that his principal's personal interest in him landed him his current job. I: You had mentioned that your principal had sort of spotted you at your previous job and had wanted to bring you here [to this school]. Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that you're a man. aside from your skills as a teacher? R: Yes. I would say in that particular case. that was part of it. . . . We have cEnain things in common, certain interests that really lined up. I: Vis-a-vis teaching? R: Well. more extraneous things—running specifically, and music. And we just seemed to get along real well right off the bat. It is ju5t kind of a guy thing; we just liked each other . . . Interviewees did not report many instances of male supervisors discriminating against them, or refusing to accept them because they were male. Indeed, these men were much more likely to report that their male bosses discriminated against the female: in their profes— sions. When asked if he thought physicians treated male and female nurses differently, a Texas nurse said: i think yeah, some of them do. I think the women seem like they have a let more trouble with the physicians treating them in a derogatory manner. Or, if not derogatory. then in a very paternalistic way than the men [are treated]. Usually if a physician is mad at a male nurse. he just kind of yells at him. Kind of like an employee. And if they’re mad at a female nurse. rather than treat them on an equal basis. in terms of just letting their anger out at them as an employee. they're more patemallstic or there's some sexual harassment component to it. A Texas teacher perceived a similar situation where he worked: I've never felt unjustly treated by a principal because I'm a male. The principals that We seen that i felt are doing things that are kind of arbitrary or not well thought out are doing it to everybody. in fact. they‘re probably doing it to the females worse than they are to me. Openly gay men may encounter less favorable treatment at the hands of their supervi- sors. For example. a nurse in Texas stated that one of the physicians he worked with pre- ferred to staff the operating room with male nurses exclusively—as long as they weren't gay. Stigma associated with homosexuality leads some men to enhance. or even exaggerate their "masculine" qualities, and may be another factor pushing men into more "acceptable" special- ties for men. 2” 260 WILLIAMS Not all the men who work in these occupations are supervised by men. Many of the men interviewed who had female bosses also reported high levels of acceptance—although levels of intimacy with women seemed lower than with other men. In some cases. however. men reported feeling shut-out from decision making when the higher administration was consti- tuted entirely by women. I asked an Arizona librarian whether men in the library profession were discriminated against in hiring because of their sex: Professionally speaking. people go to considerable lengths to keep that kind of thing out of their [hiring] deliberations. Personally, is another matter. It’s pretty common around here to talk about the "old girl network." This is one of the few libraries that I've had any intimate knowledge of which is actually controlled by women. . . . Most of the department heads and upper level administrators are women. And there's an “old girl network" that works just like the "old boy network." except that the important conferences take place in the women's room rather than on the golf course. But the political mechanism is the same. the exclusion of the other sex from decision making is the same. The reasons are the same. it's somewhat discouraging . . . Although I did not interview many supervisors. I did include 23 women in my sample to ascertain their perspectives about the presence of men in their professions. All of the women I interviewed claimed to be supportive of their male colleagues, but some conveyed am- bivalence. For example. a social work professor said she would like to see more men enter the social work profession. particularly in the clinical specialty (where they are under- represented). Indeed, she favored affirmative action hiring guidelines for men in the profes- sion. Yet. she resented the fact that her department hired "another white male" during a recent search. I questioned her about this ambivalence: ' I: I find it very interesting that. on the one hand, you sort of perceive this preference and perhaps even sexism with regard to how men are evaluated and how they achieve higher positions within the profession. yet. on the other hand. you would be encouraging of more men to enter the field. Is that contradictory to you. or . . . ? R: Yeah. it's contradictory. It appears that women are generally eager to see men enter "their" occupations. Indeed. sev- eral men noted that their female colleagues had facilitated their careers in various ways (in- cluding mentorship in college). However. at the same time, women often resent the apparent ease with which men advance within these professions. sensing that men at the higher levels receive preferential treatment which closes off advancement opportunities for women. But this ambivalence does not seem to translate into the "poisoned" work environment described by many women who work in male-dominated occupations. Among the male in- terviewees. there were no accounts of sexual harassment. However, women do treat their male colleagues difl’erently on occasion. It is not uncommon in nursing for example, for men to be called upon to help catheterize male patients. or to lift especially heavy patients. Some librarians also said that women asked them to lift and move heavy boxes of books because they were men. Teachers sometimes confront differential treatment as well, as described by this Texas teacher: As a man. you’re teaching with all women, and that can be hard sometimes. Just because of the Stereotypes. you know. I'm real into computers . . ., and all the time people are calling me to fix their computer. Or if somebody gets a flat tire, they come and get me. I mean. there are just a lot of stereotypes. Not that I mind doing any of those things. but it's . . . you know, it just kind of bugs me that it is a stereotype. "A man should do that." Or if their kids have a lot of discipline problems. that kiddo‘s in your room. Or if there are kids that don't have a father in their home. that kids in your room. Hell, nowadays that'd be half the school in my room (laughs). But you know. all the time I hear from the principal or from other teachers. "Well. this child really needs a man . . . a male role model" (laughs). So there are a lot of stereotypes that . . . men kind of get stuck ‘with. This special treatment bothered some respondents. Getting assigned all the "discipline problems" can ma this differential tre ated for the speci professions. Furthermore. the men's work er with women than women will let me colleagues often ca did enhance their ways, then, differ: traditional profess Even outside female colleagues. men—even thoug Many said that tht "women's things." interviewed seem worker in Arizona I: So in gener celebrate a bric R: They woull white females. 1: You felt the R: Yeah. It u never came 0L wouldn't have t was on their rr Some single men . because it gave ll comfortable arour men. It appears I due to hostility to Discrimina The most cor lated to their deal come into contac stance, it is popule selves as "wimPY and "passive." El pedophiles. One reer which was r He indicated tn the fact that I t that the paren that I recall, h cemed about i Such suspicions o Many of the men Hlthough levels tes. however. men ration was consti- library profession if thing out of their d here to talk about mowledge of which level administrators -y network." except he golf course. But sion making is the in my sample to \ll of the women e conveyed am- more men enter they are under- en in the profes- male" during a 'ence and perhaps r positions within enter the field. Is 15. Indeed, sev‘ lI'iOLlS ways (in- nt the apparent ie higher levels r women. k environment ig the male in do treat their imple. for men )atients. Some books because 5 described by I because of the g me to fix their are just a lot of tind of bugs me ' problems. that at kid's in your r. all the time i . . . a male role rh. e “discipline Men in the "Female" Professions problems" can make for difficult working conditions, for example. But many men claimed this differential treatment did not cause distress. In fact. several said they liked being appreci- ated for the special traits and abilities (such as strength) they could contribute to their professions. Furthermore, women’s special treatment sometimes enhanced—rather than poisoned— the men's work environments. One Texas librarian said he felt "more comfortable working with women than men" because "I think it has something to do with control. Maybe it’s that women will let me take control more than men will." Several men reported that their female colleagues often cast them into leadership roles. Although not all savored this distinction, it did enhance their authority and control in the work place. In subtle (and not-toosubtle) ways, then. differential treatment contributes to the "glass escalator" men experience in non- traditional professions. Even outside work, most of the men interviewed said they felt fully accepted by their female colleagues. They were usually included in informal socializing occasions with the wo- men—even though this frequently meant attending baby showers or Tupperware parties. Many said that they declined offers to attend these events because they were not interested in "women’s things," although several others claimed to attend everything. The minority men I interviewed seemed to feel the least comfortable in these informal contexts. One social worker in Arizona was asked about socializing with his female colleagues: I: So in general, for example, if all the employees were going to get together to have a party, or celebrate a bridal shower or whatever. would you be invited along with the rest of the group? R: They would invite me. I would say. somewhat reluctantly. Being a black male. working with all white females, it did cause some outside problems. So I didn’t go to a lot of functions with them . . . I: You felt that there was some tension there on the level of your acceptance . . .? R: Yeah. it was OK working, but on the outside, personally. there was some tension there. It never came out, that they said. "Because of who you are we can't invite you" (laughs), and I wouldn't have done anything anyway. I would have probably respected them more for saying what was on their minds. But I never felt completely in with the group. Some single men also said they felt uncomfortable socializing with married female colleagues because it gave the "wrong impression." But in general, the men said that they felt very comfortable around their colleagues and described their work places as very congenial for men. It appears unlikely, therefore. that men's underrepresentation in these professions is due to hostility towards men on the part of supervisors or women workers. Discrimination from “Outsiders” The most compelling evidence of discrimination against men in these professions is re- lated to their dealings with the public. Men often encounter negative stereotypes when they come into contact with clients or "outsiders"-—people they meet outside of work. For in- stance, it is popularly assumed that male nurses are gay. Librarians encounter images of them- selves as “wimpy” and asexual. Male social workers describe being typecast as "feminine" and "passive." Elementary school teachers are often confronted by suspicions that they are pedophiles. One kindergarten teacher described an experience that occurred early in his ca- reer which was related to him years afterwards by his principal: He indicated to me that parents had come to him and indicated to him that they had a problem with the fact that l was a male. . . . I recall almost exactly what he said. There were three specific concerns that the parents had: One parent said. "How can he love my child: he's a man." The second thing that I recall. he said the parent said, “He has a beard." And the third thing was. "Aren’t you can cerned about homosexuality?" Such suspicions often cause men in all four professions to alter their work behavior to guard 261 162 Because of the unique circumstances of th view their occupational choices as inconsi avoided the negative stereotypes directed against men in these fields. professional stereotypes until they had worked in these WILLIAMS against sexual abuse charges, women and children. Men are very distressed by these negative stereotypes. which tend to undermine their selfesteem and to cause them to second-guess their motivations for entering these fields. A Califomia teacher said. particularly in those specialties requiring intimate contact with if I tell men that i don‘t know, that l’m meeting for the first time, that that's what I do, . . . some- times there's a look on their faces that. you know, "0h, couldn't get a real job?” When asked if his wife, who is also an elementary school teacher, encounters the same kind of prejudice, he said, No, it's accepted because she's a woman. . . . i think people would see that as a . . . step up. you know. “Oh. you’re not a housewife, you’ve got a career. That’s great . . . that you're out there working. And you have a daughter. but you're still out there working. You decided not to stay home. and you went out there and got a job.“ Whereas for me. it's more like I'm supposed to be out working anyway. even though l‘d rather be home with [my daughter]. Unlike women who enter traditionally male professions, perceived by the "outside world" as a step down in status. tion may be most significant in explaining why men are sions. Men who otherwise might show interest in and apti discouraged from pursuing them because of the negative popular stereotypes associated with the men who work in them. This is a crucial difference from the experience of women in nontraditional professions: "My daughter, the physician.” resonates far more favorably in most peoples' ears than “My son. the nurse." men’s movement into these jobs is This particular form of discrimina- tude for such careers are probably However. for the n their own deci- Most respondean didn’t consider entering these fields until ing in some related occupation. Several social workers and re not aware that men were a minority in their chosen profes- -defined image or stereotype, or their contacts and mentors were predominantly men. For example, prior to entering library school, many librarians held part-time jobs in university libraries, where there are proportionally more men than in the profession generally. Nurses and elementary school teachers were more aware that mostly women worked in these jobs. and this was often a matter of some concern to them. However, their choices were ultimately legitimized by mentors them as feminine. In some cases, men were told b ment opportunities for men in these fields, to adminisrrative positions. 1: Did it ever concern you when you were ma king the decision to enter nursing school, the fact that it is a female~dominated profession? administration, just getting the background and then getting a job someplace as a supervisor. and then working. getting up into administration. eir recruitment, many of the respondents did not stent with a male gender role, and they generally indeed, many of the men I interviewed claimed that they did not encounter negative fields for several years. Popular prejudices can be \ sions altogether. ‘ have been describi when they are in ' their being shunte of a branch library city's main library R: Some of th have a man do equivalent job . doing a 800d l0 1; Have you c R: Well. actua the first place. And l've recent get that other )- The negative sterc jobs. However. tc their effects can prejudices can adt female—identified . Conclusion Both men an tion, but the form suggest that uniik dice facing men l men and women erential—treatme leagues. and are \ seem to enhance escalator efiect." The data lenc' as Kanter’s [1977] gues that women tices embedded ll This study suggest take their gender this translates int This study ir men. Future res: different races an nisms similar to nantly black oca numerical rarity- escalator." However. my sons not directly considered "fall" te contact with tdermine their these fields. A tIdo....some- the same kind . . step up, y0u Iou're out there ided not to stay 3posed to be out 0 these jobs is of discrimina- . these profes- ; are probably Rsociated with of women in favorably in tale~identified «ever, for the eir own deci- ;e fields until workers and hosen profes- and mentors brarians held I than in the .- that mostly 11. However, ds or family not typecast rial advance- d promotion -l. the fact that ch going into Ibervisor. and ents did not fy generally ter negative rs. Popular Men in the "Female" Professions prejudices can be damaging to self—esteem and probably push some men out of these profes- sions altogether. Yet. ironically, they sometimes contribute to the "glass escalator" effect I have been describing. Men seem to encounter the most vituperative criticism from the public when they are in the most female-identified specialties. Public concerns sometimes result in their being shunted into more "legitimate" positions for men. A librarian formerly in charge of a branch library's children's collection, who now works in the reference department of the city's main library, describes his experience: R: Some of the people [who frequented the branch library] complained that they didn't want to have a man doing the storytelling scenario. And I got transferred here to the central library in an equivalent job . . . I thought that I did a good job. And I had been told by my supervisor that l was doing a good job. I: Have you ever considered filing some sort of lawsuit to get that other job back? R: Well, actually, the job I've gotten now . , . well. it's a reference librarian: it's what I wanted in the first place. I've got a whole lot more authority here. I'm also in charge of the circulation desk. And I’ve recently been promoted because of my new stature. so . . . no, I'm not considering trying to get that other job back. The negative stereotypes about men who do "women’s work” can push men out of specific jobs. However, to the extent that they channel men into more "legitimate" practice areas, their effects can actually be positive. Instead of being a source of discrimination, these prejudices can add to the "glass escalator effect" by pressuring men to move our of the most female-identified areas, and up to those regarded more legitimate and prestigious for men. Conclusion: Discrimination against Men Both men and women who work in nontraditional occupations encounter discrimina- tion, but the forms and consequences of this discrimination are very different. The interviews suggest that unlike "nontraditional" women workers, most of the discrimination and preju- dice facing men in the "female professions" emanates from outside those professions. The men and women interviewed for the most part believed that men are given fair—if not pref- erential—treatment in hiring and promotion decisions, are accepted by supervisors and col- leagues, and are well-integrated into the work place subculture. Indeed, subtle mechanisms seem to enhance men's position in these professions—a phenomenon I refer to as the "glass escalator effect." The data lend strong support for Zimmer's (I988) critique of "gender neutral theory” (such as Kanter‘s [1977] theory of tokenism) in the study of occupational segregation. Zimmer ar- gues that women‘s occupational inequality is more a consequence of sexiSI beliefs and prac- tices embedded in the labor force than the effect of numerical underrepresentation per se. This study suggests that token status itself does not diminish men‘s occupational success. Men take their gender privilege with them when they enter predominantly female occupations: this translates into an advantage in spite of their numerical rarity. This study indicates that the experience of tokenism is very different for men and wo- men. Future research should examine how the experience of tokenism varies for members of different races and classes as well. For example. it is likely that informal work place mecha- nisms similar to the ones identified here promote the careers of token whites in predomi- nantly black occupations. The crucial factor is the social status of the token's group—not their numerical rarity—that determines whether the token encounters a "glass ceiling" or a "glass escalator." However, this study also found that many men encounter negative stereotypes from per- sons not directly involved in their professions. Men who enter these professions are often considered "failures." or sexual deviants. These stereotypes may be a major impediment to 263 264 important factors whenever a member of a relatively high status group crosses over into a lower status occupation. However, to the extent that these stereotypes contribute to the "glass escalator effect" by channeling men into more "legitimate" (and higher paying) occupations, they are not discriminatory. Women entering traditionally "male" professions also face negative stereotypes sug- Because different mechamsms maintain segregation in male- and female-dominated oc- cupations, different approaches are needed to promote their integration. Policies intended to alter the sex composition of male-dominated occupations—such as affirmative action—make little sense when applied to the "female professions." For men, the major barriers to integra- unprecedented acceptance on popular television shows. Women are portrayed as doctors ("St. Elsewhere"), lawyers ("The Cosby Show," “LA. Law"), architects ("Family Ties”). and police officers ("Cagney and Lacey"). But where are the male nurses. teachers and secretaries? Tele~ vision rarely portrays men in nontraditional work roles, and when it does, that anomaly is made the central focus—and joke—of the program. A comedy series (1991-92) about a male elementary school teacher ("Drexell's Class") stars a lead character who hate: children! Yet even this negative portrayal is exceptional. When a prime time hospital drama series ("St. Elsewhere") depicted a male orderly striving for upward mobility. the show’s writers made him a "physician's assistant." not a nurse or nurse practitioner—the much more likely “real life” possibilities. Presenting positive Images of men in nontraditional careers can produce limited effects. A few social workers, far example. were first inSpired to pursue their careers by George C. Scott, who played a social worker in the television drama series, "Eastside/Westside." But as a policy strategy to break down occupational segregation, changing media images of men is no r... \ study of America men would rathe because of the da who refused to a} i think if they sitting in ther. pansies or wh. This is not to say Rather, I am sug- ment to men‘s er significance of th« At any rate, tling barriers to v must also confron Men's experience the barriers are, e tional and econor References Bielby. William T.. . 1984 "A we Sean-a Washii Blum. Linda M. l99l Betwet Berkeh Carothers, Sulanne 1984 "Contr In My Wome Rutger Cohn, Samuel 1985 The Pr Ehrenreich, Barbara 1978 For He Press Epstein, Cynthia Fu4 I98! Wome 1988 Decept Univer 1989 "Work; 3. Alice Kesslcr-f- order that assumes fem. to the "male worker's $4 ordering of the sexes (1- dollar amount reeordec wreak on their Self-€516 1, they are likely to be up crosses over into a )ntribute to the "glass paying) occupations. tive stereotypes sug. and Podmore 1987). :gree that they deter a1 evidence that wo- ‘(Cohn 1985; Epstein ominantly female to «such as medicine— ' is necessary before maledominated oc- Policies intended to tative action—make r barriers to integra- e fields. Rather, we 10 "women's work” dia's representation ; have achieved an iyed as doctors ("St. y Ties"). and police d secretaries? Tele- es, that anomaly is 1-92) about a male hates children! Yet drama series ("St. ow's writers made t more likely "real ice limited effects. 'eers by George C. Vestside." But as a rages of men is no and degrade that ure, and personal- fmasculinity will occupational inte- ributing to men's ten I interviewed ative to compara~ )le worth" policy ries will substan- faced by men in resilient. even in )f the 19305, for 991:154). in her Men in the "Female" Professions study of American Telephone and Telegraph (ATErT) workers, Epstein (1989) found that some men would rather suffer unemployment than accept relatively high paying "women's jobs" because of the damage to their identities this would cause. She quotes one unemployed man who refused to apply for a female-identified telephone operator job: 1 think if they offered me $1000 a week tax free. I wouldn't take that job. When I . . . see those guys sitting in there [in the telephone operating room], I wonder what's wrong with them. Are they pansies or what? (Epstein 1939: 577) This is not to say that raising salaries would not affect the sex composition of these jobs. Rather, I am suggesting that wages are not the only—or perhaps even the major—impedi ment to men's entry into these jobs. Further research is needed to explore the ideological significance of the “woman's wage” for maintaining occupational stratification.3 At any rate, integrating men and women in the labor force requires more than disman- tling barriers to women in maledominated fields. Sex segregation is a two-way street. We must also confront and dismantle the barriers men face in predominantly female occupations. Men's experiences in these nontraditional occupations reveal just how culturally embedded the barriers are, and how far we have to travel before men and women attain true occupa- tional and economic equality. References Bielby, William T., and James N. Baron 1984 "A woman's place is with other women: Sex segregation within organizations." In Sex Segregation in the Workplace: Trends. explanations, remedies. ed. Barbara Reskin. 27-55. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Blum, Linda M. 1991 Between Feminism and Labor: The Significance of the Comparable Worth Movement. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Carothers. Suzanne C., and Peggy Crull 1984 "Contrasting sexual harassment in female-dominated and male-dominated occupations." In My Troubles are Going to have Trouble with Me: Everyday Trials and Triumphs of Women Workers. ed. Karen 13. Sacks and Dorothy Remy, 220-227. New Brunswick, NJ.: Rutgers University Press. Cohn, Samuel 1985 The Process of Occupational Sex-Typing. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Ehrenreich, Barbara, and Deirdre English 1978 For Her Own Good: 100 Years of Expert Advice to Women. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press. Epstein, Cynthia Fuchs 1981 Women in law. New York: Basic Books. 1988 Deceptive Distinctions: Sex. Gender and the Social Order. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. 1989 "Workplace boundaries: Conceptions and creations.” Social Research 56:571-590. 3. Alice Kessler-Harris argues that the lower pay of traditionally female occupations is symbolic of a patriarchal order that assumes female dependence on a male breadwinner. She writes that pay equity is fundamentally threatening to the “male worker's sense of self, pride, and masculinity" because it upsets his individual standing in the hierarchical ordering of the sexes (19902125). Thus. men's reluctance to enter these occupations may have less to do with the actual dollar amount recorded in their paychecks, and more to do with the damage that earning ~a woman's wage" would wreak on their self-esteem in a society that privileges men. This conclusion is supported by the interview data. 26! 266 WILIJAMS Freeman. Sue J.M. 1990 Managing Lives: Corporate Women and Social Change. Amherst. Mass: University of Massachusetts Press. Grimm. James W., and Robert N. Stern 1974 "Sex roles and internal labor market structures: The female semi-professions." Social Problems 21:690-705. Hardcastle, DA. 1987 “The social work labor force." Austin. Tex.: School of Social Work, University of Texas. Hodson, Randy. and Teresa Sullivan 1990 The Social Organization of Work. Belmont. Calif; Wadsworth Publishing Co. University Press. Kanter, Rosabeth Moss Kessler~Harris. Alice 1990 A Woman's Wage: Historical Meanings and Social Consequences. Lexington. Ky.: Kentucky University Press. barber. Judith 1980 Breaking and Entering: Police Women on Patrol. Berkeley, Calif; University of policewomen.~ in The Wonh of Women's Work: A Qualitative Synthesis. ed. Anne Statham, Eleanor M. Miller. and Hans 0. Mauksch. 205~223. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Phenix. Katharine 1987 'The status of women librarians." Frontiers 913640. Reskin. Barbara 1988 "Bringing the men back in: Sex differentiation and the devaluation of women's work." Gender Er Society 2258-3]. Reskin, Barbara. and Heidi Hanmann 1986 Women's Work, Men's Work: Sex Segregation on the Job. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Reskin. Barbara, and Patricia Roos 1990 Job Queues, Gender Queues: Explaining Women's Inroads into Male Occupations. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Schmuck. Patricia A. 1987 "Women school employees in the United States.“ In Women Educators: Employees of Schools in Western Countries. ed. Patricia A. Schmuck University of New York Press. Schreiber. Carol 1979 Men and Women in Transitional Occupations. Cambridge. Mass: MIT Press. Spencer. Anne. and David Podmore 1987 in A Man’s World: Essays on Women in Male-dominated Professions. Iondon: Tavistock. Strauss. Anselm L 1987 Qualitative Analysis for Social Scientists. Cambridge. England: Cambridge University Press. U.S. Bureau of the Census U.S. Department of Labor. Bureau of labor Statistics [991 Employment and Earnings. January. Washington. Dc: Government Printing Oflice. US. Congress. Ban: 1991 Civil 1 Pan 1. Williams. Christine 1989 Gende Calif; Yoder, Janice D. 1989 "Worn Wome Mayfie York. Reginald 0.. t 1987 “Sexua 340. Zirnmer. Lynn 1988 "Token lass; University of ofessions." Social University of Texas. (shing Co. Calif.: Stanford exington. Ky.: k. niversity of al dilemmas of resis. ed. Anne N.Y.: State ' women's work." rn. DC: National kmpations. ;: Employees of N.Y.: Stare Press. London: lge University vemment Printing inting Office. ‘-. Men in the "Female" Professions US. Congress. House I991 Civil Rights and Women's Equity in Employment Act of I99]. Report. (Report [02-40, Part 1.) Washington. DC: Government Printing Oflice. Williams. Christine L l989 Gender Diflerences at Work: Women and Men in Nontraditional Occupations. Berkeley. Calif.: University of California Press. Yoder. Janice D. 1989 “Women at West Point: Lesons for token women in male-dominated occt.rpations.~ In Women: A Feminist Perspeulve. ed. Jo Freeman, 523—537. Mountain View, Calif; Mayfield Publishing Company. York. Reginald 0., H. Carl Henley. and Dorothy N. Gamble 1987 “Sexual discrimination in social work: Is it salary or advancement?" Social Work 32:336- 340. Zimmer. Lynn 1988 'Toltenism and women in the workplace.~ Social Problems 35:6+T7. 267 ...
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