Used to be Female-dominated; now Male-dominated: examples?

Women seem to be moving into fields that used to be either completely or nearly completely the domains of men. Sports, professions, societal roles, you name it.

But are there things that used to be predominantly the territory of women that men are now moving into?

I don’t count cooking, since the role of male chefs and short order cooks has been around a long time – maybe forever.

Nor do I count hair dressing and interior decorating where the female dominance is really not all that pronounced: there seem to be about as many of one gender as the other in those and similar fields.

Musicians, artists, authors, poets, along with most of the arts’ practitioners have been fairly evenly represented by both sexes, even though there are probably some specific areas where one gender is more represented than the other.

I’m trying to think of some field that used to be almost exclusively the Woman’s World but nowadays has a significant number of male participants, even outstanding or dominant ones.

Surely there are some. At least one. But what?


Computer programming and operating, sort of. During the second World War, the computers and calculators used by the military were largely staffed by female officers and enlisted personnel, because they were ineligible for combat duty.

I wouldn’t call IT male dominated now; most shops I’ve worked in have been pretty well mixed, yet the classic image of a computer programmer does seem to be male.

Good one, even though I had an uncle who was a male nurse in the 40’s. He was definitely an exception to the nurse=female rule back then.

Veterinary schools are spitting out a lot more women docs than males. It’s not quite female dominated yet, but give it a few years and it will be.

Misread the OP. Nevermind me.

Pre-school and elementary school teaching.

The fricken laundry.

What about waitstaff at diners and mid-end table service restaurants?

Used to be years ago, at a fast food restaurant, men generally worked in the kitchen, while women were at the register. Now things are mixed, and a man may be just as likely to take your order as a woman.

A couple of others: flight attendants and erotic dancers. Not dominated, maybe, but breaking in.

Given the current environment in the US, I don’t think you’ll see men breaking into child care, day care or nanny-type fields for a long, long time. Men making further inroads into elementary education also seems to be put on hold for now.

Dominated by men, though?

So he was a nurse? “Male nurse” is one of my chief pet peeves!

My husband is a nurse, and I certainly wouldn’t say men dominate the field. There are more men going into nursing now, but it is still difficult to find male nurses for the case he is on.

It looks like a lot of people are misreading the OP.

I think Zeldar is asking for occupations that are no longer presumptively female. Note that “even” in the last sentence does not mean “exclusively.”

That’s what he would answer when you asked him what he did for a living. No shame involved, just a job description. What else should he be called?


Thanks for the help, saoirse. You’re right. It just seems to me that whatever gender-boundary-crossing is being done these days, it’s the women crossing into Male fields that get the notice. Enough so that whatever invasion men are doing into Female Territory either isn’t getting much press, or else they’re too quiet about it.

My basic assumption in this thread is that there must be some of it going on. It’s just escaping my notice.

I see that I did use the “male nurse” description in my earlier post. Mea culpa.

I don’t honestly remember exactly how my uncle referred to his job. It could have been either way. But I can accept the negative connotations of “male nurse” for some.

If it matters, I still think of Judi Dench as an actress even if actor is the vogue. Old habits die hard.

If this topic is chauvinistic, I didn’t mean it that way. :slight_smile:

I responded to the OP, not the OP’s title.

Well said. The title is misleading. Again I apologize for not stating my question(s) as precisely as I might have.

Domination in a field is less important than the participation in that field to a significantly larger degree than “it used to be.”

Spectre of Pithecanthropus has hit on the tone I had hoped for.

Sorry I came off as snippy! Anyhoo, in contrast to elmwood, I’d say there are more child care providers and nannies who are male than in the past, though they certainly don’t dominate. And certainly more male-female couples who choose for the man to care for their children in the home.

Yes, the notion of “househusband” is not all that new. A buddy of mine accepted that role while his more upwardly mobile wife went for the bacon bringing role. It worked great for them since he had never held a decent job for much longer than a month. Work just wasn’t his bag. But he was good with their four kids and it gave him time to devote to his hobbies (including gunsmithing) while he took care of the housework. Sad to say, they’re now divorced and he became a hermit. As I say, work’s not his bag.