Posted Jun 6, 2013 11:58 UTC (Thu) by AndreE
In reply to: Cultural diversity
Parent article: The Linus and Dirk show
Well, it probably IS worth thinking about why mid-wifery is so female dominated. If it is due purely to the attitudes of other mid-wives towards the capabilities of men in similar roles, then that would certainly be sexist behaviour. If it is because of uninformed and somewhat arbitrary societal expectations about the role of men and the type of jobs men should be limited to do, that would certainly highlight an entrenched sexist attitude within society.
There might also be well-motivated reasons, like the "sexual distance" between mother and mid-wife given the otherwise intimate nature of the practice, or the need for personal childbearing experience that only a mother can provide. That being said, there are plenty of male OBGYNs, male nurses, and a growing number of male midwives. The issue of discrimination has been some public visibility, and you can visit any number of nursing, parenting, or pregnancy forums to hear (read) the sort of discussions about the profession that we have here.
In any case, even if the reasons are purely discriminatory and based on flawed assumptions about roles of men in society and their capabilities to perform certain jobs, sexism in mid-wifery doesn't excuse sexism in other domains.
As a final point, the term "midwife" defines someone who assists a woman during pregnancy, originating from the Old English terms "mid" meaning "with" and "wif" meaning "woman". So the term is hardly sexist in and of itself, and men can quite logically be classified as "midwives"
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