There is no argument that in today’s society the nursing profession is dominated by women. Yet, oddly enough, the ancient origins of the practice we now classify as nursing were once carried out predominantly by men. According to Lorber “as a social institution, gender is a process of creating distinguishable social statuses for the assignment of rights and responsibilities.” If at one time nursing and healing was classified as “male work,” why do males no longer enter the nursing profession at the same rate they once did.
I never really thought much about gender differences until I came to nursing school. Now, I find myself surrounded by women- instructors, professors, colleagues, and peers, for a large majority of my time at school. At the beginning of my freshman year we started out with 15 males in a class of 91. Now, there are 7 males in my nursing class. Many switched out after our first year because they felt alienated by their gender differences. According to a recent statistic, only 6% of nurses are male. Out of this 6%, many of these male nurses claim to have experienced discrimination in their education and/or workplace. In her article, Beauvoir classifies women as “the Other” to men, yet in the nursing profession this role seems to be reversed.
Lorber “The Social Construction of Gender” (1990).
Simone de Beauvoir, “Introduction” to The Second Sex