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Paige Watson

on 9 June 2015

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How have these gender biases carried over into our generation?
What's up Twitter and Instagram?
What About Now?
Why was this an important topic
for us as future RNs to address?
Our SMI!!
Females are still
respected or acknowledged as professional, educated, or competent health-care providers, despite a comprehensive 4 year degree,
sexism is
occurring, despite efforts to honor and appreciate all nurses (female, male, gay, straight, black, white, trans, etc.)
Male nurses are referred to as “male nurses, or "murses”, whereas female nurses are just “nurses” (for the purpose of explaining rampant sexism in the medical field).

Nursing is still depicted as a very female-oriented profession, wherin males are constantly
discriminated against,
and female nurses are often
deemed unintelligent
or simply not smart enough to become a doctor, and it is often presumed that they are in the field simply to marry a male doctor.

With our social media intervention, it became quite clear that everyone is subject to sexism in nursing. Eventually, we would like to take our activism to the faculty to change exam and lab material to promote equality.
We've already heard interest from a nurse who'd like to start a feminist group in nursing and spoken to the Nursing Undergraduate Association's President in hopes to carry on our activism.
Women in Nursing
The Prevalence of Sexism in Nursing
The Issues for Males in Nursing
Historically, nurses were always female and subservient to male physicians. Nursing has always been seen as “women’s work” (Porter, 1992), and therefore it is substantially devalued.

Women, as an extension of maternal functions, have expressive, emotional, and caring qualities, while men are naturally more instrumental, rational, scientific, and decisive (Porter, 1992)

During WWI, females contributed to the war efforts by nursing wounded soldiers, rather than fighting in the field. (again, using their ‘maternal’ side).
Male nurses are deemed as “pussies”, ”gay”, or “feminine” and questioned as to why they are not pursuing medical school. This undermines the nursing profession as a
while depicting sexism towards both sexes:
- Females in that the nursing profession is deemed ‘
not good enough
’ for males and only suitable for women (the less intelligent group)
- Males in that they experience a great deal of ridicule for being in this profession of their choice, despite its great importance, necessity, and excellence. Males also experience
sexism from patients
(a woman giving birth who refuses to have a male nurse in the room simply because he is male),
of a sexual misconduct accusation,
from gender-based clinical settings such as OB and community, and are
to have ineffective communication styles. Many males feel that the curriculum is geared towards females (textbooks for nursing overwhelmingly depict female nurses, "the nurse walked into a room,
...) which further reinforces males as a minority.
Well, it verifies
Victorian femininity
which by definition classifies women as
helpless, fragile, passive, submissive, sweet, and the 'perfect wife'
- basically suggesting that women can/should do nothing but be a nurturing mother and wife.
This also shows just how relevant the private and public spheres were within womens' lives (around the time of first wave feminism) aaand

Males are the working breadwinner who interact with the public, whereas females are simply mothers and wives, only interacting in private spheres.
Since nursing involves ‘caring’, it is
only a job for females and is ’feminine’ - which is
males are ridiculed for becoming nurses, since only women are socially allowed to express feelings/be 'caring'. Men should be in a leadership position that embodies assertiveness and confidence.

How does this
tie into #WGS201?
The sexual dynamic
exists: women are expected to be nurses, men are expected to become doctors (as doctors are seen as much more powerful and authoritative). These stereotypes stem from the post-war era where nurses did not have such an advanced scope of practice that we see today, and when nearly 100% of nurses were female.
Women are still often undermined as health care professionals and asked when they plan on marrying a doctor. While male nurses are questioned on their choice of profession (isn't that gay? god you're a pussy... because men aren't supposed to care,

Men represent
of nurses in Canada
experience gender stereotypes
felt discriminated against due to gender
feel social isolation while practicing as a male nurse

(Ragacich et al, 2013)

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