Research & Insights

Time For Men To Man Up And Acknowledge They Have A Caring Side

An analysis of campaigns to recruit more men into nursing, a field in which they only make up 7 percent of the workforce, provides some guidance on why opting for messages that play against stereotypes might serve society better in the long run.

Writing in “Recruiting Men, Constructing Manhood: How Health Care Organizations Mobilize Masculinities as Nursing Recruitment Strategy,” Marci Cottingham, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Department of Social Medicine, finds that many campaigns attempt to redefine nursing in traditionally manly terms – such as an occupation that involves risk-taking, courage, and adventure.

Relying on those stereotypes even if they work, however, can be harmful because those are the very stereotypes that keep men away from feminine causes, organizations, and occupations in the first place.

Recruitment efforts that do the opposite and instead show that men can be caring can also work as well as bring other benefits.

According to Cottingham, encouraging “men to engage in more caregiving—at work and at home—may decrease the burden of carework that typically falls on women and may increase equality between men and women.”

Gender & Society, February 2014

Marci D. Cottingham, University of North Carolina

Posted: August 11, 2014
Tagged as: