Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pink Collar Jobs: Sure Bet or Safety Net?

Written By Contributor: Carline C. Dumerlin Folkes
Founder of B.E.L.L.E
Co-author of Miss University
Many women feel pressured into what are often considered "pink collar" jobs (Education, Social Work, Nursing etc.) because it is almost expected that their career should involve helping others directly. In the book, Nice Girls Don't Get Rich, author Lois P. Frankel PhD discusses the issue of female ghettos. The phrase "female ghetto" describes the fields where workers remain underpaid and undervalued because they are populated primarily by women. Apparently to the powers that be, these jobs do not merit the salary to match the hard work and dedication that is required.


There is absolutely nothing wrong with "pink collar" jobs. In fact, in these unpredictable economic times, these jobs are in demand. Healthcare and educational institutions are  for the most part more stable then the financial ones. An added incentive is that these once mediocre paying jobs, have now seen  a drastic increase in compensation, with many currently offering six-figure salaries.

What I have an issue with is that some women who chose these professions because they were told by their parents, teachers, or husbands to choose these professions because of their supposed "flexibility", regardless of of their level of interest in them or lack there of. There were pushed to seek flexibility that would come in handy when they decided to have children. Does anyone ever tell a man to not become a high profile corporate lawyer because it doesn't have flexibility? Of course not!

I've had women tell me they were told a career in politics, finance, law enforcement can be too demanding and that they should do something that is easier. As if caring for the sick, teaching the youth, and nurturing those in need is easy. Since when is caring for the sick or teaching our youth easy? It's that perspective that keeps these fields underpaid and under appreciated.

At the end of the day if a woman wants to be an engineer, actuary, video designer or pilot then she should go for it. There are programs, organizations, and scholarships that support and even pay women to pursue these male-dominated fields. These resources are often a simple Google search away. Don't let anyone control who or what you want to become.
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