Overcoming Stereotypes – How Men Can Take on Traditionally Female Roles

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Not many people would argue against the fact that traditionally women have worked very hard for less pay than men. A male and female could be doing exactly the same work and the man would earn more. This is the way it always was, and people just accepted without question. However, this is no longer the case. There has been much in the media about equality in the workplace, and some countries now have laws that insist gender should not be a consideration when deciding on pay.

What has not been given so much publicity is the fact that now men are taking over roles that were traditionally for women, and where before it was women that worked as dental nurses, for instance, now it is just as likely to be a man.

All this talk of equality has spearheaded a trend that gender no longer matters when it comes to work, but some men are still in the dark as to how to get into jobs that were traditionally a woman’s role.  The recession has also had an effect because now men are considering work that they would not have entertained before. It may not be as difficult as you think to choose whatever career you want, and here are just a few suggestions that might help if it is a traditionally women’s role you would like to work in.


Nursing was probably one of the first professions where men were accepted, and now it is not unusual to see a male nurse caring for patients. The requirements to become a nurse in the US are exactly the same no matter what gender you are.  You will need a degree in nursing studies and you then have to obtain a license for the state you want to work in. You will then be credited as a Registered Nurse (RN) and have the choice whether to work in general nursing or to get more qualifications to specialize or enhance your chances of moving up the nursing ladder.

Moving forward with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an ASN (Associate of Science in Nursing) will open up further opportunities in your nursing career. An ASN course, which is more practical, is usually 2 years long and a BSN can take up to 4 years.  When you can add a BSN to your name, the potential for advancing your career is endless. This is why some people take ASN to BSN nursing programs so they know they can make the most of their career. If you already have earned your ASN, the BSN course does not take as long as if you were starting from fresh.


Generally, you think of women working in kindergartens, but it has become more common in recent years to find men working in them as well. You will need a degree in elementary or early childhood education and then gain some experience with working with young children. Most graduates would do this by finding an internship for a couple of terms.

You then have to obtain your teaching license, the requirements for which can vary from state to state. In most states, you would be expected to pass a proficiency exam, most of them relying on either the Praxis tests or Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST) to ensure that your core academic skills are up to standard, among other things such as counseling.

To become licensed, you will have to submit your fingerprints and have a clean criminal record or you have no chance of obtaining a license.

Males working in kindergartens are still pretty rare, but if you like working with young children, it could be the ideal career for you.

Secretaries and Personal Assistants

A growing number of men are applying for jobs as secretaries and personal assistants. This is probably because the role has changed so much from the traditional view of a woman sitting outside her boss’s room taking orders and typing.

There used to be a stigma attached to men doing such roles, but that is no longer the case. It is thought the reason behind this trend is the number of graduates who are finding it difficult to get work, and now that these roles are far more computer-based, they suit both genders. The salary has also had an effect on the larger numbers of men applying for these roles, as it is now a much better-paid job than it used to be.

You do not need any formal education to be a secretary or personal assistant, but a degree in business studies or even a PA grogram could be a distinct advantage when you are applying for jobs.

Fitness Trainers

There was a time when you would only have seen a woman at the front of a keep fit class in the US, but that is changing, and now men are taking classes of both genders. It can be a very rewarding career as you will be working with people dealing with weight loss, injuries and much more. If you train individuals, each one will be different with different needs, and you will need to learn how to guide them without pushing them too hard.

You do need to get certified to be a fitness trainer, but the requirements vary from employer to employer, and from state to state. You need to check out how to get the certification that your location needs. There are several certifying organizations including the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the International Fitness Professionals Association (IFPA).

Once you are certified, there is a variety of situations you could work in. Apart from the obvious commercial gyms and fitness studios, fitness trainers are also needed in hospitals, wellness centers, local community centers, cruise ships, resorts and for in-home personal training.


Because many telesales jobs allowed people to work from home, it was usually a domain of women who did it while their children were at school. It is no longer a case of sitting with a phone, calling potential customers, as jobs such as this are now much more automated, and many men have entered this field.

You do not need any formal qualifications to get into telesales, but you will need to know the product you are selling well, and you need to be good with people. It can be a career where you can earn a very good salary if you are good at it.


Although the accounting world was in the past dominated by men in the US, the work that is done before it reaches them was traditionally done by women. This is a profession that has seen vast changes in which genders do which jobs, and now the split of male and female bookkeepers and accountants is pretty even.

Although you can learn how to bookkeep through experience, if you want to make a career of it, you are better off getting a bookkeeping qualification. It is a career that computers have changed totally, and one that you must keep up to date with legislation so that if you work for yourself, you need to make sure your clients are compliant with the rules and regulations relating to their business records.

Earning an accounting diploma or certificate will be a requirement for most employers if you want to work for someone else as a bookkeeper, and they will also expect you to be skilled in using bookkeeping software.

Office Workers

A traditional office would have been all-female workers with a male as the manager. This has changed totally now, and if you want to work in an office you should have no problem finding vacancies for both genders. The same applies to the management roles, and now it is down to your qualifications and experience as to whether you will be considered for a vacant management position.

As far as qualifications are concerned, that depends on the line of business the office relates to, but a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) or something similar can only help your progression in office work.

The Changing World of Work

The world of work is undergoing huge changes, partly because of the advent of being able to get qualifications online. Where in the past women could not earn qualifications because they could not fit class-based courses in with family commitments, online courses have got over that problem and now there are more qualified women than ever before.

As women take on more of the top jobs, more men are entering careers that women traditionally did. In the future, it is likely that there will be no gender specification for workplaces, and this has already happened in many roles. If you want to enter a career that was traditionally a woman’s role, you should not fear being ridiculed as you might have been just a few years ago. These days, people accept male nurses, kindergarten teachers, bookkeepers, fitness trainers, and personal assistants as the norm, and this will become even more the case as time goes on.