Books, life the universe

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Women in the workplace

I was reading an article about the the possibility of there being more women working in the next 4 years than there are men. Not sure why this is news but it apparently is. Since there are more women in the population this might be part of it. Inevitably many of the comments were along the lines of the destruction of manufacturing has led to there being no jobs for men. My immediate thought was - so men are only capable of doing jobs that involve brute strength then?

The comment that stuck in my memory was - 'The most degrading sight I ever see is a man working as a supermarket checkout operator' So is the job itself degrading or is it degrading for a man to do the job? Either way the comment makes no sense unless you assume that men and women are meant to stick to their own particular jobs. I would have said it was more degrading to be unemployed.

Many of the comments suggested that men should not have to work in service industries as it's not natural. They used to in the 19th century - think of all of the ticket collectors and clerks in railway offices; then there were men doing what we would now call PA work; men being domestic servants; much clerical work would have been done by men because working class women frequently did not have the educational skills to do it. So when did such jobs become beneath a man's dignity?


kcm said...

Is this pathetic or what? Why shouldn't men work in service industries? You mention railways; well they were probably classed an industrial job because they involved dirt etc. (even for a booking clerk? Pah!). And what about postmen - most of whom are still male? So the vast majority of the IT inductry (ie everything apart from the manufacture, installation and maintenence of the hardware) is a service industry and the sole preserve of women? I don't think so! Yes there are a lot of women in IT, but still probably no more than 30% of the workforce - it was probably abut 10% when I joined the IT world 30-odd years ago.

And I can speak from experience when I say I would far rather be a supermarket checkout operator than unemployed. I've done both though admittedly many years ago. Jobs are what you make them, and it is possible to make a supermarket job interesting: there are people to talk to, and new/unusual foods to learn about - but of course mena are not good at doing these things because they don't "gossip" the way women do. Oh no?!

No, most men don't liek service industries because their ego needs that they are always right and able to show off (even when they don't have a clue) rather than relate to the "customer". Don't believe me? Just try buying a piece of technology from a young Asian male in any of the stores on London's Oxford Street.

kcm said...

Sorry I didn't spell-check that comment!

NAM said...

I honestly believe that there is no job that is degrading - including prostitution if conducted properly with willing employees - and yes, much worse to be unemployed if there is an honest alternative. It's something I think we have an unhelpful attitude to in this country, though, along with a few other things!

Jilly said...

Thank you both! I agree with you completely.

I find the number of people commenting - not just on tabloid stories - that there are no jobs for real mean and it is degrading for men to do women's jobs just laughable. No wonder there are so many people unemployed.

I had a run in with a bolshie bloke in a mobile phone shop about the Data Protection Act one - he just wanted to show off that he was right - unfortunately for him I knew far more about it - and the Sale of Goods Act - than he did!