How gender beliefs are used to explain the division of labor in an occupation can recreate or disrupt inequality. Our study contributes to the growing body of research examining which narratives about gender segregation in male-dominated occupations are more or less oppressive to women. We asked 13 female and 9 male U.S. funeral directors to account for the shifting gender composition of their field. Most funeral directors explained women’s entry into funeral directing and justified gender segregation in the occupation by drawing on gender beliefs about women’s superior nurturing “natures” and men’s “innate” superior physical strength and scientific ability. Our findings demonstrate the strength of cultural gender beliefs for shaping narratives about gender and work and suggest ways individuals grapple in their everyday interactions with “degendering” skills in feminizing occupations.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 14, 2016
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