Equalizing gender disparities in much needed sectors welearn
Overview
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    The advancement of gender stereotypes over the past few decades has been nothing short of astounding. Preconceived notions about how certain genders should dress, act, speak, and conduct themselves have been completely demolished, especially in apparent fields of employment.

    Women, once seen as soft-natured individuals who were expected to cook, clean, and stay at home, were told that they were unqualified for jobs in the military, law, or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). At present, they make up approximately 16% of the U.S. military, 38% of the legal professions, and 44% of the STEM workforce. Despite the fact that the numbers are at an all-time high, gender disparities continue to exist. To eradicate them, society must work even harder. 

    We have been using gender-related terms to describe professions, such as “female teacher” for too long now. This terminology is now obsolete. However, more progress is necessary to make progress in terms of career development and growth. The gender gap in certain professions is currently experiencing a radical regression. Consider, for instance, how women make up the majority of the healthcare workforce. Women make up four out of every five healthcare workers. The majority of teachers are female, with three out of four being female. Women are expected to dominate these sectors. Each of these sectors continues to see a decline in the number of men. It is unlikely that this downward trend will be reversed on its own.

    Reversing The Gender Disparity Trend

    Is it possible to turn this downward trend into an upward one? If so, how can we prevent this deterioration from occurring? For these gender disparities, there are several avenues to prove success.

    Imagine offering men the necessary means to impel them to join the two most needed sectors among all occupations. Education and healthcare are two of the fastest-growing sectors with the greatest need for personnel. There is a need not just in the United States, but around the world as well. Healthcare and education have traditionally been considered women’s professions, but men can play a critical role in alleviating our society’s gender disparities.

    Conventional male professions are rapidly disappearing. Among the established male-dominated professions are construction, manufacturing, plumbing, mechanical engineering, and electrical work. In recent years, these professions have been declining at an alarming rate, as women have demonstrated their ability to work just as hard (if not harder) than men. Women have begun to subjugate male-dominated fields, but the pay and gender disparities have shrunk as they have begun to subjugate them. 

    It is also important to note that the need for men to have specific positions is diminishing and they are rarely inclined to remain in positions that fulfill this need. It is common for men to seek out new professions in order to achieve their own career development on a path of their liking, pay their bills, and provide for their families. 

    The problem is that they do not consider (or simply do not choose to consider) healthcare and education. Among these reasons is the stigma associated with being a man in a female-dominated field. The gender barriers associated with certain jobs may disappear in certain sectors, but the healthcare and education industries do not exhibit this ability. Overall, the need to fulfill these roles is far greater than the diminishing gender barrier. In other words, the supply (of qualified individuals) is not keeping up with the demand (of professions).

    It is believed that men feel that there are more occupations in which they would be most effective given that these are occupations dominated by women. The benefits offered by these sectors are significantly better than those offered by conventional professions. Both sectors offer a significantly higher wage, in addition to additional benefits such as health insurance, holiday pay, and sick pay. 

    Could we please take a moment to consider the hours that a teacher works? Typical working hours are between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. All holidays are contracted off, including the Christmas season and summer vacation, which last for at least two (or three) months. Pay varies by region, state, and city depending upon where you live.

    The healthcare industry and the education sector are always in need of additional personnel to fill important positions. The recent global pandemic that was caused by the Coronavirus, for example, has left the world with a nursing shortage that is both urgently needed and difficult to resolve. The World Health Organization (WHO) projects that 9 million nurses and midwives will be needed worldwide by 2030. Men can provide a much-needed solution to the growing nursing shortage in the world by recognizing the need and addressing the problem with awareness.

    In order to address this shortage head-on, men must have the necessary resources at their disposal. By doing so, they will have the opportunity to enter the healthcare and education sectors in large numbers. They should be provided with additional incentives to further their education, support to achieve success, and a financial and cultural investment in their future.

    A growing need for men to work in the healthcare and education sectors requires adequate financial resources. A great way to promote education is to not simply throw higher education in their faces, but to offer them incentives to major in one of the many areas of expertise that are in high demand. Through the Tennessee Promise Program, which was launched by the Tennessee Board of Regents, all Tennesseans who graduate high school have the opportunity to attend a 2-year college or technical school for free. Through this grant-based program, tuition and any mandatory fees are fully covered.

    In order to enhance the opportunities for men, something similar in nature would need to be created. But the limits should be stretched rather than being inclusive of those who have just graduated from high school. Consider expanding the program to include anyone under the age of 45 who wishes to begin a career as a nurse or teacher, as some people choose their careers later in life, and this program can assist those who have made a career choice later than is expected. It would mean receiving a free four-year degree, which might be more challenging than the Tennessee Promise. 

    A halfway point, such as two years of free higher education with all associated fees, may be easier to attain, especially for taxpayers. Furthermore, it will serve as a motivational tool to encourage them to pursue careers in health or education.

    Conclusion

    As a society, we must normalize the notion that healthcare and education jobs should not be exclusively reserved for women. The same can be said regarding our ability to achieve a culture shift that permits women to work in blue collar, male-dominated jobs. Although this daunting task will not be accomplished overnight, and it may prove challenging to achieve, we have already shown as a society that it is possible. Our attention should now be directed to other prominent industries that require our attention. There is no doubt that an increase in pay across these sectors would undoubtedly encourage both genders to apply for positions, thus reducing the global shortage of nurses and teachers. 

    However, a wage increase alone will not suffice. Insufficient resources are available. In addition, it is imperative that it becomes the new norm. To this end, society should take the time to teach young children, especially boys, that nurses, doctors, medical administrators, teachers, and principals are professions that are highly desired and needed, especially by both genders equally. To neutralize gender stereotypes based on career development, we must raise our children in a world where there are no gender disparities. In addition, we must also educate society to believe that gender inequalities are a thing of the past so that men and women are not only created equal, but equal in all aspects of life, especially their careers.

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