There’s a lot of talk about opening up various fields to women that have traditionally been performed by men. This is, after all, what Ada Lovelace Day is all about - getting girls and women interested in subjects traditionally seen as the dominion of men. But there is not as much talk about things going the other way, of men doing traditionally female roles (this is not to criticise ALD at all, it has a specific clear aim and is not designed to fix gender discrimination in the work place and should not feel it should have to do so single-handedly).
In the course of work today I came across an article that made me immediately want to post it here (though I managed to control myself and waited until work was over). It’s a few years old (from 2010) but I still thought it was interesting. It’s titled Hospital job title ‘Sister’ dropped for being sexist. There were two bits that made me want to post it here. The first was the subtitle:
Hospitals are abolishing the job title “Sister” to describe senior nurses because it is thought to be sexist
Thought to be sexist??? How can it be thought to be any other way?
The next bit had me laughing out loud:
Dr John Lister, from the patient campaign group London Health Emergency, said: “This is further evidence that hospitals are becoming more and more bureaucratic. The change can only serve to confuse patients.”
Yes, because asking to speak to the ‘Sister’ and being presented with a man isn’t the least bit confusing!
The article points out that 1 in 10 nurses are men now, up from 1 in 100 fifty years ago. I can’t help but wonder if one of the reasons the number is not closer to parity is because men do not see it as a job they can do because it’s full of terminology that is specifically female - sister, matron, etc. I don’t know how well the “Ward Manager” title has spread through the NHS but I know that, at least in my local Trust, Matron is still used regardless of whether the person is male or female. I can’t help but think that changing the name to something more gender neutral would be more appropriate and less confusing for patients.
Oh, in the 'related articles; this came up. I’m not going to spoil the surprise but be prepared for your blood to boil.