The Evolution of Pink-Collar Jobs

New York Times Wordle

Pink-collar workers participate in fields like childcare, primary education, and beauty that have historically and currently been dominated by women. Learn about the development of American pink-collar employment.


How Do Pink-Collar Jobs Work?

Work that is classified as "pink-collar" is typically performed by women, including school teachers, housekeepers, and florists. Despite improvements in gender equality made by American society, the Bureau of Labor Statistics still reports that women hold the majority of traditional pink-collar jobs.

In the 1970s, social critic Louise Kapp Howe coined the phrase "pink collar" to describe occupations that the public associates with women's work. Pink, which has long been associated with women in society, increases the visibility of female employees while also feeding into gender norms.


The Evolution of Pink-Collar Jobs

The development of pink-collar work in the US dates back to World War II and is still evolving.

1. World War II: During World War II, women in the US began to join the workforce in large numbers. Women worked in factories to produce parts for the war while men were serving overseas. Men returned home after the war, which marked the start of suburban sprawl and the birth of the baby boomers.

2. Second-wave feminism: After the war, some women kept up their domestic responsibilities. Others took part in the second-wave feminist campaigns of the 1960s, which promoted, among other things, greater employment opportunities and equal pay.

3. Gender roles: Pink-collar jobs began to become more prevalent as more women enrolled in college and looked for employment, even though the pay was still lower than that of their male counterparts. Pink-collar jobs reinforced gender roles because they allowed women to pursue careers as kindergarten teachers, flight attendants, and waitresses because society viewed them as matronly caregivers.

4. Workplace equality: Women's rights in and outside of the workplace continue to be contentious social issues, raising awareness of workplace injustices and making it easier for women to find jobs with equal pay. Today, there are a lot of women working as senior-level executives, secretaries, doctors, lawyers, and other types of professionals. A lot of women work in science and robotics, two fields in the STEM fields.


Examples of Pink Collar Jobs: Careers with a Predominance of Women

Pink-collar occupations, such as those in the service and caregiving sectors, are frequently low-paying and predominately held by women. positions where women predominate include:

1. Beauticians

2. Daycare teachers

3. Dental assistants

4. Flight attendants

5. Florists

6. School teachers

7. Hair stylists

8. Home decorators

9. Housekeepers

10. Interior designers

11. Maids

12. Nurses

13. Servers

14. Social workers

15. Teachers


Pink-Collar Jobs vs. Blue-Collar Jobs vs. White-Collar Jobs

Jobs with pink collars, blue collars, and white collars differ in a number of ways. The following characteristics set these job classifications apart:

1. Dress code: According to gender stereotypes, the color pink is associated with women, while the color blue is associated with men. These hues additionally distinguish between employees' genders in job classifications. Consequently, the term "pink-collar" refers to occupations that are predominately held by women. Since these workers typically work on construction sites or in fields, the term "blue-collar jobs" refers to the color of the clothing they wear, which is typically darker, such as denim, which won't easily show stains and mud. White button-down shirts are the uniform of white-collar workers at offices.

2. Pay: In general, pink-collar jobs pay less than those held by white-collar employees. White-collar employees typically receive a salary or payment on a per-project basis, while blue-collar employees are typically paid on an hourly basis. White-collar jobs have traditionally provided more opportunities for advancement.

3. Work environment: Blue-collar jobs are typically performed outside, whereas pink-collar jobs, such as nurses and teachers, are performed indoors in hospitals, schools, daycares, and other female-dominated work environments. White-collar jobs are more specialized and are typically performed in an office setting (though some white-collar jobs, like a real estate agent, can require client meetings outside of the office environment). Physically, white-collar jobs are less demanding than pink-collar and blue-collar jobs. Men and women can now work in pink-collar or blue-collar jobs, though gender stereotypes still exist, and both types of jobs pay less than white-collar jobs.

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