A Woman’s Work

Is there still a distinction between women’s work and men’s? Today’s NY times op-ed by Linda Hirshman suggests that there is. Hirschman claims that President-elect Obama’s plan to create new jobs will only benefit men if he focuses solely on infrastructure and engineering. Hirschman’s observation that women continue to pursue human oriented professions, such as teaching and social work, doesn’t seem to be shifting very much if my students are any indication, though I do encounter a number of female students who are pre-med and pre-law as well. Are women socialized into professions that require human engagement or are these students simply persuing what they are interested in? Probably a bit of both. I do hope, along with Hirschman, that some of the new administration’s job creation money is put into libraries and schools, not necessarily because women work there, but because these institutions are as crucial to our survival as roads and bridges.


About jennifer williams

Jennifer D. Williams is a writer and professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies. She has published in academic journals and online at Ms.blog, PopMatters, among other sites. Jennifer is currently working on a book that looks at black women's urban literature between the Depression and the civil rights era.

One response to “A Woman’s Work

  1. Unfortunately I do think there are still jobs that are considered for women and others for men. For example due to the influx of immigrants to the United States it tends to be immigrant women who get jobs as maids or nannies. At the university I attend there are very few women in the engineering college. It makes me wonder if it is because women feel intimadated out of choosing a major, perhaps because they don't think they are smart enough. I think this shows the need for our culture to empower women more, specifically with the message that it is not only men who can have goals and ambitions.
    I personally am going into a human services field since that is where my passion lies, so yes I agree with you when you suggest that part of the reason is that women in general are more interested in this field.

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