By K. Huppatz
Drawing on interviews with nurses, social staff, unique dancers and hairdressers, this ebook explores the strategies excited about generating and reproducing gendered and classed employees and occupations.
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Extra info for Gender Capital at Work: Intersections of Femininity, Masculinity, Class and Occupation
237 cited in Gamarnikow, 1978: 110) It was not only Nightingale who depicted nursing in this way. Advocating for women’s participation in the public realm, Cecile Matheson (1908) (cited in Walton, 1975) argued that nursing fulfils women’s maternal urges. In the Journal of Education Matheson commented: the middle aged worker who is without home ties of her own tends to grow weary of life and to seek to crush maternal emotions that seem to exist to give her pain ... It is probably the innate craving for human interest that leads so many to take up teaching and nursing.
Interestingly, historically, nursing and social work have been constructed as appropriate occupations for those who are of a particular gender and class; and I will argue that these two occupations continue to be middle class in population and culture. I will then move on to discuss the cultures and histories of exotic dancing and hairdressing, two feminised, working-class occupations. 32 Gender and Class in Four Occupations 33 Nursing Nursing was, and continues to be, actively constructed as ‘women’s work’.
For example, Pam Smith’s (1999) study of nursing education demonstrates that while the image of nurses as caring is prominent in recruiting literature and publicity, emotional skills are not adequately addressed in training programmes, and students tend to receive little support with dealing with their own emotions as well as the patient’s emotions (cited in Sharma and Black, 2001: 928). In addition, nurses have fought for their work to be perceived as involving both ‘caring about’ (a sense of feeling affection) and ‘caring for’ (servicing a person’s needs) (Ungerson, 1983: 31); as emotional work is commonly devalued, nurses have fought for nursing to be depicted as involving both love and labour so that their occupation might be given professional status.
Gender Capital at Work: Intersections of Femininity, Masculinity, Class and Occupation by K. Huppatz