Why does every profession today need to be composed of half men and half women?

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    Why is there such a huge push to completely obliterate gender differences and eliminate traditional male and female professions? Isn’t this what mitzrayim did to klal yisroel (instead of 50-50 they did a 100% switch, but its the same concept- to mutilate gender roles).

    They are giving away thousands of dollars to women and giving them precedence for software coding and engineering schools, and likewise for men who are going into nursing and child-care roles.



    ” to mutilate gender roles”

    Given that in many frum communities it is entirely women who are the family breadwinners we really shouldn’t be complaining.


    newbee: I’m going to assume the question isn’t rhetorical, and answer it as well as I can.

    Suppose we have a generation of people, and among those people are the top 1000 potential programmers of the generation. All sorts of things could influence who are among them, such as inborn traits and abilities, experiences, developed ways of thinking and work ethic, and efforts in different areas. Whatever the causes, these people have the potential to change the world with their incredible abilities. Assuming there isn’t anything that would make it particularly more likely for them to be male or female (a claim which many would dispute), it’s reasonable to assume that there would be approximately 500 males and 500 females in the group. When these young men and women are deciding what careers to go into, not all of them will decide to go into programming. If there is something causing the women among them to decide not to go into the field, then fully half of the top people are lost. They will instead go into other professions, where they may not be as successful. A country may look at their numbers of successes in a field, and compare it to another country’s, and remark “Why is it that they have so many more successful people in this area?” and the statistics will show that the other country doesn’t have a larger amount of successful men in that field, they simply took action against the circumstances that were causing them to not have any women go into the field. The failure to do this cause the first country to lose half of their talent, and that’s why they have so much fewer successes in total.

    Berel is a young man deciding what field to go into. He rightly feels that becoming a doctor would not be a good fit for him, and looks for other options. He does not know it, but Berel has the potential to be an incredible nurse, and were it an option of serious consideration, this would be clear to him. He would enjoy the career immensely, and do a great job. But it is not an option that he considers; why would he? Men don’t become nurses, women become nurses! And so, Berel instead becomes a third-rate accountant, and nothing becomes of his abilities. His good friend Hirshel, for whom being a kindergarten teacher would have been a dream job that he would have been great at, instead becomes a taxi driver. His sister Fayge becomes an occupational therapist instead of a civil engineer, and wastes her talent at a job she doesn’t like and never really excels at.

    Most people don’t have stories like this, and most of those who do generally don’t know what they might have had if the gender roles hadn’t removed many options from their lists. But you asked why people work toward there being an even split between genders in every profession, and stories like this are why. Excluding half the population from a profession means that people have fewer options, and the options they choose instead are often worse.

    Now, there are of course many things to consider besides for just how successful a person can be, how much they’ll enjoy their jobs, and how much it will fit the life they’ve planned for themselves. Mixed-gender workplaces come with all sorts of hazards that need to be taken into consideration. A career may generally not be a good fit for one gender for other reasons. All these things need to be carefully considered, and many young people will need to consult a rav about these issues. But if the problems can be mitigated, should we keep people out of these careers anyway, just to preserve the gender roles? Are they truly so important? Are they really worth the tremendous cost?

    Is it worth it?


    They raised the pay for nursing, and suggenly it attract more males.

    They increase the job flexibility for many professions, and it attracts more females.

    Companies that seek out women for coding jobs do so since they feel that’s an area where they can find employees. If a male feels he has been discriminated against, he can file a complaint. Given that most people in the industry are male, it might be hard for such a complaint to be taken seriously. As computer and engineering jobs are largely male, a company needing to find employees looks for new reservoirs of potential talent on the assumption that any males interested in the job have already applied.

    There are some jobs that are inherently female, such as “wet nurses” (largley obsolete since most mothers will bottle feed if they can’t nurse a baby). Most of the rest are determined by economic factors and social factors. Even among goyim, many women greatly value job flexibility in order to also work as mothers (among frum workers, everyone values flexibility in order to keep Shabbos without getting fired).

    Note that within the Jewish community, the outside rules don’t apply. There is a big demand for male nurses since many frum men don’t like strange women touching their bodies. Similarly, there a demand for female doctors by many frum women who don’t want men touching them. Also note that teaching is considered a respected, honored, and sought out profession by frum men, where among the goyim it is regarded as what you do for a living if you lack the skills for anything more productive.


    “He does not know it, but Berel has the potential to be an incredible nurse”

    I am asking maybe there is something inherently good about having different jobs for men and women. And even if berel could have made a great nurse, for the sake of the community as a whole he should not become a nurse.

    And even if susan could have made a great police officer, for the sake of society maybe she should not become one (the issue of a woman carrying a weapon and being in a position of authority aside). Maybe thats what the message of what mitzrayim did is saying. That men should do traditional masculin work and women feminine work- at least for Jews.

    How do other people interpret what mitzrayim did?

    Im not saying for practical reasons not to have male nurses and female doctors- but to davka make it 50-50 for political reasons- as if to obliterate gender roles not for practicality but to make a social-spiritual statement.


    There is no such thing as a female profession. Females being nurses is a very recent thing, look up Florence Nightingale. Before the concept of universal education all teachers were men.


    Suppose half the people in the world drive Toyotas and half drive Hondas. Do you think it is reasonable to insist that half the people in engineering school drive Toyotas and half drive Hondas? No, because it’s completely arbitrary and doesn’t affect whether they’ll be a good engineer.

    So it makes sense to just let people self select, regardless of whether they drive a Toyota or a Honda.


    A woman’s place is at home. (Azoi zugt der Torah un halacha.) Anywhere else is, at best, a b’dieved.


    newbee: What are those reasons why Berel shouldn’t be a nurse and Susan shouldn’t be a police officer? I’m not yet going to deny that such reasons could exist- I’d just like to hear what they are first. Like T613 said, nurses were historically male- in fact, nearly EVERYTHING was historically male as it’s only quite recently that women working in professions became common. At that point specific occupations became associated with women when they tended to work in them more.

    However, I don’t believe in affirmative action for jobs like firefighter, in which towns have been sued for not giving women jobs even if this is as a result of not passing standardized physical tests. Hire whomever you’d like, but don’t lower your standards to do so, especially in such a precarious position. (I’m a woman, by the way.)


    Im simply pointing out that eliminating or mutilating gender roles in society is not a new concept. Mitzrayim did it thousands of years ago to klal yisroel and wanted to get peoples take on it.

    “But if the problems can be mitigated, should we keep people out of these careers anyway, just to preserve the gender roles?”

    Yes, maybe we should.

    I forgot exactly where I read this: but its a story of someone who put a lion to work as a mule. And someone told him it wasn’t proper for him to do such a thing, even though the lion was capable of doing the work of a mule, it was not in line with the what Hashem created the lion for.

    I disagree that there is not masculine and feminine work. Building is masculine (i.e. construction worker). Making things look pretty is feminine (i.e. hair designer).

    I wonder if it would be harmful for children and society to grow up with having davka half the construction workers be women and half the hair designers be men, even if technology could find a way to allow women to do the construction. The gem takes it as pashut that there are male-female differences, but society is gradually trying to change that.


    I have never seen half a man or half a woman working at any job.


    newbee: Why do you assume that building is a masculine job? Because in our society it’s mostly done by men? I have no idea, but I’m sure if we do research we could find cultures in which women did the building (maybe see Tamid 32, but it’s not a real Ra’aya).


    A job requiring MUSCLES probably needs a man’s touch. Sometimes a patient is too heavy for a female nurse to lift, sometimes it really is more tzniusdig for a male to be involved in the medical care of another male, IF POSSIBLE. I realize that there are heterim for medical care to be done by one gender for the other, but where possible, it’s really nice to have the option to avoid any issue of tznius all other things being equal.

    However, there is absolutely no reason for women to not be able to pursue a career in any field of study that they choose. Especially in view of the fact that many of the husbands are benefitting from the higher income their wives are generating in those less female-traditional job markets, it behooves men to refrain from complaining.

    Personally, I am a very old-fashioned lady who believes men should make the parnassah and moms should be home raising their kids properly, something which I do not see too often these days. Unfortunately that seems to be unrealistic in this day and age, but it certainly is not the ideal situation. So if women are already of necessity forced into the workplace,let it be THEIR decision where they want to work and in what field their interests lie. Computer software is not in the sole purview of men.



    The answer to your question is quite simple

    It is believed that males and females have generally equal mental capabilities (note: I am not saying I beleive it)

    So as to your question:

    “Why is there such a huge push to completely obliterate gender differences and eliminate traditional male and female professions? “

    1) fairness. IF they have equal capabilities they should have equal oppurtunities.

    2) For the betterment of society. Assuming men and women have equal capabilites, then statisticly of the 1000 best software coders 500 are men and 500 are women. If software coders are 75% male that means that there are 250 (female) coders out there better than 250 coders that you have, but have been shut out for another reason, perhaps their gender.

    Again this is all based on the assumption that men and women are equally good at software coding


    Ubi, men and women do not have equal mental capabilities.

    There are significant differences in the structure and function of male and female brains.

    There are differences in processing in the hemispheres of the brain, in processing from the two sides together, in the effect of hormones on brain function, in the size of certain areas of the brain, in the likelihood they’ll suffer from certain brain disorders & etc.

    I’m not knowledgeable enough in the biology and chemistry behind this to understand and explain it all, but I can definitely say that men and women process information differently.

    It seems obvious from the fact that Torah and Halacha do not regard both genders identically, that the differences between them are profound.

    It’s the old theory of ‘birds who need to fly were created with wings and feathers; fish who live in the sea with gills and fins…’

    We were each given the brains that will help us carry out our Tafkid.


    “Men don’t become nurses, women become nurses! “

    I have known many nurses who are men.

    “There are significant differences in the structure and function of male and female brains.”

    No, there aren’t. The within-sex differences overwhelm the between-sex differences.

    “I’m not knowledgeable enough in the biology and chemistry behind this to understand and explain it all”

    That is obvious!


    Thank you, Ubi.

    I see you’re too polite to accuse my (female) brain of poor reading comprehension.

    So you indicated that you too don’t necessarily believe men and women have the same brains, in the kindest way possible.


    Oh please, there’s a perfectly good reason (among others) why men don’t care care of small children – statistically speaking the overwhelming majority child molesters are men. Obviously that’s not to say all men are molesters or even that the majority of men interested in caring for small children are, however better safe than sorry. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with a strange man changing my small children’s diapers and even though I may be over on dan adam l’chaf zchut, I’d raise an eyebrow at any guy who would want to do that for a living.

    In the business world, there are many negotiating and sales situations where a man commands more respect and authority than a woman just by virtue of his gender. I’m not saying that’s right, but I’m also not saying it’s necessarily always wrong – liberal non-profits seem to be fine with social experiments but when you want to make money often you can’t buck long held rules of human nature and society. Obviously there are exceptions but that’s the general way of things.


    “Why does every profession today need to be composed of half men and half women?”

    They don’t. Next question.


    Just to clarify what I said earlier, I don’t believe that there is any reason why a woman couldn’t theoretically be totally fit enough to be a firefighter or anything else involving physical strength- there are female weight trainers, for example, who can lift a lot. But standards shouldn’t be lowered so that those who really can’t do it are now allowed in. Let people work in the jobs that they are fit for, physically, emotionally and intellectually, without regard to gender.


    “but I’m sure if we do research we could find cultures in which women did the building”

    I would like to see a society that for the past 2000 years women have done the building and men have done the hair design and made things look pretty.

    “Let people work in the jobs that they are fit for, physically, emotionally and intellectually, without regard to gender.”

    I dont know about that. Even if a woman is very intellectual she still will not earn as much reward for learning Torah as a man will who is less intellectual. The question is is it only torah and mitzvos that men and women should have different roles or in the secular world as well.


    newbee: Hair styling was a male endeavor in America for many years. Isn’t one of the “Blue Laws” in some places that women can’t cut hair?

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