Men Advance in “Pink Collar” Jobs But Race Still Matters

by Project Censored
Published: Last Updated on

A recent New York Times article described the trend of men entering traditionally “female” occupations.[1]  Due to decreases in job availability and gender stereotypes, and the financial stability provided by “pink collar” occupations, job growth for men in these fields has nearly doubled from 2000 to 2010.  (“Pink collar” jobs are occupations that are composed of at least 70 percent women and include nursing, teaching, social work, and dental assistance.)  The Times reported that men entering these fields are experiencing a “glass escalator” effect, a reverse effect of the “glass ceiling” that women encounter in male dominated fields.  Men in female-dominated jobs earn higher salaries, move up easier and faster to supervisory and managerial positions, and are given preference in hiring over their female counterparts.

However the Times article only mentioned in passing race affects this male “glass escalator.” As reported by Akiba Solomon in ColorLines, a study conducted by Adia Harvey Wingfield, a Georgia State sociologist, found that non-white males do not experience the same easy upward mobility that white males do.[2]  Dr. Wingfield conducted in-depth interviews with 17 Atlanta-area black male nurses ages 30 to 51 who had at least five years experience in the field and found that “racial dynamics color these men’s encounters with the mechanisms of the glass escalator.” For example, while white male nurses were often mistaken for doctors, black male nurses were mistaken for orderlies or janitors.

Source: Akiba Solomon, “Sure, More Men Are Doing Pink-Collar Work, but Race Still Matters,” ColorLines, May 23, 2012,



[1] Shaila Dewan and Robert Gebeloff, “More Men Enter Fields Dominated by Women,” New York Times, May 20, 2012,


[2] Adia Harvey Wingfield, “Racializing the Glass Escalator: Reconsidering Men’s Experiences with Women’s Work,” Gender & Society, 23 (2009), 5-26,


Student Researcher: Ashley Huot (Santa Rosa Junior College)

Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (Santa Rosa Junior College)