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Asking for equality in unpleasant jobs like mining, garbage cleaning, etc. is the wrong approach

February 22, 2021

I've often seen the argument about how some of the worst and/or more dangerous jobs out there having almost exclusively male workers, whether it's referring to issues like the enormous workplace fatality gap or as criticism to the feminist idea that there should be gender quotas for women in management roles or other desired jobs.

Without going into the debate of whether quotas are a proper answer to workplace inequality (which I personally don't agree but that's another topic entirely) I personally think that demanding more female garbage cleaners/miners/etc. entirely misses the point by attempting to tackle the effect of the issue rather than the cause.

Let's assume for a moment such quotas existed and that after hiring X male garbage cleaners only female ones could be hired. The result would likely be the role being severely understaff due to not enough women applying, just as they don't currently. Instead of stating that "men work unpleasant/dangerous jobs" we should take a look at why this happens.

The main issue here is not men working undesirable/dangerous jobs, it's men not being hired to safer/more pleasant jobs. If you have a degree, a good curriculum and work a qualified job you'll be good regardless of gender. However when it comes to unqualified jobs the gap widens a lot. This is due to jobs that involve dealing with people often preferring women or even not hiring men entirely. This is due to the general view that men are dangerous/predators/violent that results in the customer feeling automatically safer and more at ease with a woman (and the employer hiring one).

Me and my friends all had experiences with this. My experiences include being rejected from a pub in Norway where workers earn about 2000€+2000€ more in tips because "we only hire women" (they didn't shy away from declaring it) or not being able to land a job in a hostel/hotel due to "lack of previous experience" while my female friends got hired to high-end hotels despite no previous experience or academic background in tourism. My friends' experiences included most clothing stores in Portugal not hiring male workers, again including cases of them just straight up declaring it.

If any sort of legislation/quotas would create workplace equality that's not focused solely on the upper classes, it wouldn't be achieved by demanding more women in dangerous/unpleasant jobs. It would be achieved by demanding more men being hired into hotels, hostels, pubs, clothing stores, etc. - not only this would solve the problem of so many men working horrible or dangerous jobs (because men would have an alternative), it would also create equality in fields that are currently almost entirely male, since the amount of people that don't have a choice but to take those wouldn't be so overwhelmingly male but more equally distributed.

TL,DR: Don't demand more female miners, garbage cleaners, etc. - demand more men in hotels, hostels, pubs, clothing stores, etc.

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Post Information
Title Asking for equality in unpleasant jobs like mining, garbage cleaning, etc. is the wrong approach
Author TheSpaceDuck
Upvotes 21
Comments 7
Date February 22, 2021 9:52 PM UTC (2 years ago)
Subreddit /r/LeftWingMaleAdvocates
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[–]TintelFrootleft-wing male advocate 31 points32 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Most people don't demand more women work more dangerous jobs though, they point out that it's hypocritical to force more women into safe jobs "Dominated" by men but not into unsafe jobs "dominated" by men.

It's putting a spotlight on the flaws of the whole "equality of outcome" idea.

[–]TheSpaceDuck[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Fair enough. And yes I agree it is hypocritical.

I was merely stating that in practical terms pointing out the lack of men in desirable unqualified jobs does more to help gender equality, since it is a clear identifiable problem that is at the root of workplace inequality in the lower classes.

[–]ShortTailBoa 12 points13 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

People aren't demanding more female miners, They're rightfully pointing out in response to the false wage gap narrative. The only way to stop people from saying it is to accept that the wage gap is a lie.

Until then there's no point in us not saying it.

[–]th3empirial 9 points10 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

It’s more about pointing to a double standard. We understand that going into dangerous jobs is both based on taking more risk and needing to earn money with the skills you have. The prevalence of men isn’t due to unfairness against women. So it’s hypocritical to point to the high prevalence of men in tech or engineering as unfair when the same isn’t true of mining

[–]throwawayincelacc 3 points4 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

The prevalence of men isn’t due to unfairness against women.

Exactly. It's an unfairness against men. Disposability + expectation to earn more.

Saying more women should be in mining, etc may also push cognitive dissonance on feminists as they now have to argue that a well payed, male dominated field is not suitable for women while a separate, well paid and male dominated field is suitable for women (your point about the hypocrisy).

[–]th3empirial 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Yeah if you unravel the ideas far enough, many men are basically forced into dangerous work to be able to provide financially for themselves or other people. Privilege to earn = responsibility to provide and risk death, effectively

[–]Blauwpetjevalued LWMA contributor 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Dirty and dangerous work has to be done. Even if more men get better jobs, I'm afraid women simply won't do the worse ones and many people will be shocked even thinking about that.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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