In some fields, like left-brained fields of technology and engineering, you’ll never see true equality just like you’ll never see a 50-50 ratio of male-to-female nannies or newborn nurses. (Although if you do see such tidy ratios, you’d better head out to another, saner society because enforced equality means lower quality.)
But women are not only saturating but excelling in other traditionally male-dominated fields.
Why is that?
Nature Still has the Edge over Nurture
Such fields appeared male-dominated simply because women either lacked the opportunity (not necessarily because of society, but because of old-fashioned labor-intensive domestic duties) or they DID work in those fields, but not in an official capacity.
So what’s the difference between a traditionally male-dominated field that is actually conducive for a woman’s strengths and a traditionally male-dominated field less conducive?
Let’s take the example of medicine.
Female Doctors vs Male Doctors
Yet the actual practice of medicine was carried out by both men and women – they just didn’t call the women “doctor.”
For example colonial American midwife Martha Ballard was the most highly regarded midwife in her area, but she did much more than deliver babies. She treated serious diseases and also lanced abscesses. She had a working relationship with one of the top doctors in that area, and it’s clear from her diary that the relationship included mutual trust and respect for each other’s medical skills. The doctor was perfectly content for Martha to treat his own ill family members in his absence and she felt the same toward him.
Furthermore, when local doctors happened on the opportunity to perform an autopsy, these male doctors invited Martha to attend – just as they would any professional colleague.
And yes, they thought to invite her. She didn’t hint or put herself forward in any way to attend. They sought her out simply based on her obvious qualifications and skill as a medical professional.
So women entering the medical profession is actually a natural continuation of a role women have filled since time immemorial.
And studies indicate that women make better doctors than men. They seem to make fewer mistakes and so on. (Please see: JAMA Journal.)
Of course, we’ve all encountered bad female doctors. I had one at my last birth. She did the actual medical procedure fine, but her bedside manner was heartless and hideous. Better she should cake plaster over her mouth and just get to work doing what she was trained to do.
And this also is not to say that men don’t make good doctors.
There are many fine male doctors. But certain aspects of the female personality are more conducive to good doctoring. And you may call me a female chauvinist, but I personally prefer female gynecologists and obstetricians to male ones - and not just for reasons of tsnius. And I REALLY prefer female pediatricians to male ones, especially those female doctors who are mothers themselves. All things considered, women tend to be better pediatricians overall than men.
I don’t mean any offense to all the excellent male ob/gyns and pediatricians out there, but my personal experience shows that females are just better all-around in these particular fields.
In other words, what these areas of medicine demand tend to be fulfilled much better by a female doctor than a male one.
Men tend to excel in other areas of medicine.
Nothing REALLY New under the Sun
As explained in a previous post, even the classic Eishet Chayil of Mishlei/Proverbs clearly discusses a woman who invests in real estate and field production – and does so with great success.
So, all things considered, it’s no surprise that women make up half of medical students in America and surpass men in other fields:
- 60% of pediatricians are women
- 51% of ob/gyns are women
- 60% of dermatology trainees are women
- 63% of those enrolled in journalism or mass communication are women
NOTE: Female enrollment in medical school occurred without affirmative action.
Another field considered female-dominated today, but was historically the realm of males, is teaching – particularly teachers of elementary school students.
For millennia, any official teaching was performed by a male.
Yet by 1850, the majority of school teachers in America were female.
And again, like with the above professions, women were drawn toward teaching because it plays feminine strengths and is something women have done throughout history in unofficial capacity.
Free to be You & Me
- A) draws on female strengths
- B) was something that women have traditionally done anyway, albeit not necessarily in official or professional capacity
And so the problem with society today is that it seeks to enforce equal representation in all areas – including areas to which women aren't innately drawn and tend not to display innate aptitude.
So society attempts to enforce "equal" representation unequally because it only seeks to increase the ratio of women in male-dominated areas rather than also increase the ratio of men in female-dominated areas. (At least they aren't trying to enforce even ratios in female-dominated fields too.) It's all a disaster in the making.
But really, people should be allowed to excel where they wish and should be allowed to just be themselves – according to whatever self Hashem gave them.
The True History of Women's Work
What Happens When Equality Demands Discrimination