Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

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Women’s Studies

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Laura Vanderkam writes in USA Today about “the princess problem” and women in the workforce:

Some economists have predicted that women could surpass men as a proportion of payroll employment this year. A growing proportion of young women entering the workforce will need to support their whole families at some point. Yet there’s evidence that young women don’t think about this as they plan their careers — because, hey, someday that prince might come.

I wonder how much Vanderkam’s hypothesis applies to young women today—it seems to me more of an attitude belonging last to the boomer generation. But while girls today might not fall as easily prey to the princess trap in choosing a career, Salon’s Broadsheet recently pointed out:

… even as more women than ever are majoring in science and engineering, the traditionally female-oriented fields are becoming even more so — i.e., as more women major in those subjects, men start avoiding them. And as people who work in the “caring professions” have long known, the more a field becomes “feminized,” the less it’s valued.

I wanted to know why the traditionaly female-oriented fields were becoming more so, but neither the Broadsheet post nor the Inside Higher Ed article in links to offer much by way of explanation other than”as women go into some majors, men sometimes don’t want those majors anymore,” which seems to raise more questions than it answers.

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Written by Elizabeth

August 12, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Posted in Feminism

Tagged with , , ,

One Response

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  1. I certainly don’t know the answer to your questions, but it does occur to me that everyone might be putting a slightly wrong interpretaion on a part of the facts. It’s possible (and I have no evidence – it’s simply a suggestion) that we have the “chicken and egg” the wrong way round. Maybe men are becoming less enamoured with those subjects (for whatever reason) and women (ever the sharper sex) see an opportunity to move into a field where the competition is on the wane.

    AF

    August 13, 2009 at 7:13 pm


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