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Is it a problem that the nursing profession is dominated by women? If so, why?



I have a friend who's a nurse.

He's told me that he's gotten some shit from people because of his profession. From other guys who aren't nurses. Weird, huh? But I've seen more hostility or unintentionally discouraging behavior towards female programmers from male ones than he's mentioned ever encountering from female nurses, so in that regard it's less of a problem.

Yet he's also mentioned that the number of males in the field is increasing, and that there are, in fact, efforts being made to get more men into the field.

Why would a limited labor pool for any profession be a good thing? And why should I believe that the current distribution in a very young field represents a natural equilibrium?

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We address this is every gender thread on hacker's news. Yes, it is a problem. Yes, people are trying to fix it. Yes, including creating male-only nursing scholarships and spaces and community groups.

None of which has anything to do with programming. I don't know if you think you are being clever or if you are just repeating a talking point, but either way it's a derailment that has been addressed a hundred times before if you cared to do a little bit of homework.

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This entire conversation has been said 100 times.

It's interesting how the original article throws something at least kinda new into the mix, but this whole thread just heads right back to the same old grounds.

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That's because it's not new. Read the comments on the original article. If a magic solution was enough, it would have been fixed already and no one would bother talking about the non-issue.

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Actually my intention was neither; I simply asked a question I am curious about the answer to.

Why is it a problem that nursing is dominated by women?

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That's not a problem.

The problem is that people believe nursing is supposed to be a woman's job, and that a male nurse is thus unmanly for freely choosing to become one.

These beliefs are wrong. They are sexist. Full stop.

An indicator of the prevalence of these beliefs is the dominance of women in the nursing profession. This is hard, factual, statistical data that we can point to; it's easier to parse than qualitative data, such as stories of males laughing at male nurses for their profession.

It is a chicken-and-egg problem. Are blacks more likely to be criminals, or does the expectation that blacks become criminals increase the number of blacks being investigated for crime, leading to a higher rate of discovery? Is it because blacks are systematically discouraged from getting an education, which tends towards lower incomes and higher likelihoods of becoming criminal?

These are statistical truths. Absolute? Hardly; they're still mere statistics, which always lie. But statistics are closer to the truth than the dubious anecdotes we had before. They can demonstrate the existence of bias, even if that bias cannot be causatively tied to sexism. And in the end, that demonstration is more proof than the inverse position, the position that the nursing profession should be biased towards women, which really only has the above-mentioned sexist beliefs to fall back on.

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> These beliefs are wrong.

Those are value judgements, they cannot be "wrong". You can judge them as wrong, but that's just one value judgement on top of another. There is no way to even hold a discussion between them on that ground.

> An indicator of the prevalence of these beliefs is the dominance of women in the nursing profession. This is hard, factual, statistical data that we can point to

This is hard, factual, statistical data that doesn't support your conclusion. Maybe women really do have a stronger preference for nursing jobs, or they are socialized that way, or those jobs fit their schedule better, or they like working with other women so they congregate in jobs already dominated by other women, or..., or some combination of the above.

Why take one piece of data and jump to the least charitable explanation? Sexism is just one of very many possible causes.

> Are blacks more likely to be criminals, or does the expectation that blacks become criminals increase the number of blacks being investigated for crime, leading to a higher rate of discovery?

Again, or both, or neither. Or both but maybe some other factor completely dwarfs those two you mention, rates of single motherhood come to mind.

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> Those are value judgements, they cannot be "wrong".

Uh, of course it's a value judgement. That's the entire point of calling out sexism.

Do you disagree that they're sexist, or do you disagree that a sexist belief is wrong?

> This is hard, factual, statistical data that doesn't support your conclusion.

I'm pretty sure I said that. In fact, I'm pretty sure I spent two entire paragraphs on that.

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I don't know anything about the nursing industry.

But I would comment, that increased diversity (whether it is gender/race/age/etc) always yields benefits as you have a more diverse range of viewpoints to draw from. So it is always a problem when one group is over(or under) represented in a given area.

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People are quite good at selecting people like them - in my experience, it's quite possible to have a nice diverse group of people, all of whom have exactly the same viewpoints.

I'm not objecting to this proposal in any way - nothing wrong with more investors - but there's no doubt in my mind that the female tech entrepreneurs who'll benefit from this will have worldviews very similar to their male counterparts.

If you really want diversity of viewpoints, you'll need to discriminate on harder-to-nail-down concepts like socioeconomic class or culture.

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The benefits of diversity come with costs. Shared viewpoint and culture makes things much simpler. Things people consider universal ("well that's just common sense!", "It's about respect!") reasonably often turn out not to be universal. The very notion of the benefit of diversity is itself not held by all cultures.

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Not to mention the physical issues. My wife was nursing and according to her the inability to carry most of the patients is one of the bigger problems in that field. The way it works now you need a group of male employees basically just for carrying people - not a very popular job. They try to solve it with robots in Japan, but it's at least another 10 years until those solutions are really viable. 50% male nurses would certainly help there.

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Do you have evidence for increasing diversity helps?

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The Impact of Gender Composition on Team Performance and Decision-Making: Evidence from the Field

http://www.econ.upf.edu/~apesteguia/Gender_Teams.pdf

"Looking across the performance distribution, we find that for undergraduates, three women teams are outperformed throughout... For MBA students, at the top, the best performing group is two men and one woman."

http://hbr.org/2011/06/defend-your-research-what-makes-a-tea...

"The standard argument is that diversity is good and you should have both men and women in a group. But so far, the data show, the more women, the better."

http://www.20-first.com/968-0-lbs-study-shows-addition-of-wo...

"The optimal percentage for the gender balance of men and women on teams is 50:50. Neither men nor women flourish when in a minority on teams. When in a minority, women tend to network outside whereas men tend to become less motivated. Having a slight majority of women on teams (about 60%) improves the self-confidence of the team."

I think the evidence is pretty clear. Anecdotally, I've seen the best performance out of mixed teams. All men teams and all women teams generally don't work out so well.

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Moreover, companies which have more female execs report higher earnings. They literally make more money as the number of women in senior management increases.[1][2]

However "if many stock speculators believed Kay and Shipman, firm stock prices would jump upon hiring more female execs, making most CEOS quite eager to hire more women execs. There would be a boom in female execs and Kay and Shipman would not have bothered to write their oped. Since that didn’t happen, I’ve gotta believe most speculators don’t believe those studies, and so I shouldn’t believe them either. If you think otherwise, go speculate."[3]

Here's your chance to put your money where your mouth is and rake in the returns, laughing at the sexists all the way to the bank.

[1]This oped mentions sources http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07... for example.

[2] http://www.catalyst.org/press-release/73/companies-with-more...

[3] http://www.overcomingbias.com/2009/07/femfirmfinance.html

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> I think the evidence is pretty clear.

Uh? The 3 excerpts you quote say 3 different things.

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Could you show me the differences? Those three excerpts seem to be saying the same thing to me.

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https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4240716

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By extension, do you support "empowering" the employment of men in a female dominated profession by decree with the same zeal you show here toward women in tech?

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What about women in coal mines and crab fishing boats? It's true that a man has greater mobility towards the top of the career ladder but this "privilege" also exposes him to the much more likely risk of ending up on the bottom of the ladder.

It's not equal to have proportional gender representation in only desirable jobs.

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By "the bottom of the ladder" do you mean economically? Is your claim that women have a higher earnings floor then men? Could you provide figures?

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It's not something you can completely measure economically. A coal miner makes decent money but how do you put a price tag on black lung or being crushed to death?

>When I did the research for a book called The Myth of Male Power I discovered a Glass Cellar that holds far more men than the Glass Ceiling. The Glass Cellar consists of the hazardous jobs and the worst jobs (minimum security, low pay, bad conditions). The hazardous jobs-or Death Professions-result in 93% of the people who are killed at work being men. Of the 25 professions that the Jobs Rated Almanac rates as the worse professions, 24 have in common the fact that they constitute 85% or more males (welders, roofers, etc.).

http://www.warrenfarrell.com/labor_day_art.htm

Also need to consider the other costs externalized on marginalized men. Men are ~5 times more likely to die from suicide. Men are more likely to be homeless. They are more likely to be pariah of society. They live 7 years less than a women when a century ago the difference was 2 years. These are all costs externalized on men based on the traditional idea that men are strong/privileged and need to "man up".

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I'd be cautious of using a 'Glass Cellar' as an excuse not to act on gender inequality.

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I agree, the ratio is so skewed that the possibility of legitimate discrimination should be considered.

But consider this. We're experiencing the first generation of men that will be less educated than their fathers. Women are outpacing men in college education and literacy rates and this divide continues to grow. If we continue to systematically approach "gender equality" from such a lopsided perspective we're all going to hurt as a society. We're on the path to resembling Eastern Europe. Where the social cost of being a man is so high they are disproportionately dying and creating a gap in eligible bachelors.

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