Professions Boomers Thought Men Would Never Do — But Today’s Men Are Doing Them


Written by:

Baby boomers grew up in a world where “I Tarzan, You Jane” was the norm—”men make fire, women make dinner.” They were taught that a “manly man” should build skyscrapers or practice the law, while women, if they insisted on working, should stick to jobs that mirrored their domestic roles, like nursing or teaching.

But times have changed. Now, women are driving buses, going to space, and winning legal awards, while men are becoming more open to pink-collar jobs. 

Fragile masculinity? That’s so last century.  

So, here are six professions boomers thought men would never do, but today’s men are doing them.

Image Credit:

1. Nursing

If there’s ever been a profession stigmatized as “women’s work,” it’s nursing—likely due to traditional gender roles where women, as mothers, were the primary caregivers. However, times are changing, especially as the U.S. healthcare system grapples with a serious labor shortage.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 2.7% of registered nurses were men in 1970. By 2011, that number had climbed to 9.6%; by 2023, men comprised 12% of the nursing workforce. 

Research shows this shift has benefits beyond simply filling the gender gap, such as improved patient care and satisfaction.

Image Credit:

2. Flight Attendants

While the world’s first flight attendant was actually a German man named Heinrich Kubis, attending to passengers has mostly been considered a pink-collar job since the early days of commercial aviation.

However, men are increasingly taking off in this workforce. In 2010, the gender ratio was heavily skewed, with only 15.76% of international flight attendants being male, while 84.24% were female. Over the past decade, the percentage of male flight attendants has gradually increased, reaching 21.04% by 2021.

Image Credit:

3. Dental Hygienist

Men are increasingly making their mark in the dental hygiene profession, a field traditionally dominated by women. According to a study, the percentage of male dental hygienists has risen from less than 1% in 1999 to 6.1% in 2020. While the profession remains overwhelmingly female, with 94% of dental hygienists being women, this shift signals significant progress.

Image Credit:

4. Librarians

If you thought libraries were just the domain of cardigan-wearing, shushing ladies, think again, because today’s male librarians are breaking the mold. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics,as of 2012, there’s been a whopping 48% increase in male librarians since 1980. They’re redefining what it means to be a librarian and bringing new energy to the stacks

Image Credit:

5. Secretaries

Over a century ago, when few women worked outside the home, 85% of clerical workers were men. Women who were rebellious and bored with traditional housewife roles and wanted to join the workforce had limited options, one of the most popular being a secretary. The field became dominated by women, and once an occupation is “feminized,” men typically avoid it. But today, while still dominated by women, 10.1% of the 1,370,340 secretaries currently employed in the United States are men. Being a “Man Friday” — a male secretary — is becoming increasingly acceptable.

Image Credit:

6. Male Elementary Teachers

According to Zippia, in 2022, 19.5% of elementary school teachers are men, a significant jump from the 1980s and 90s, when the sight of a male teacher was as rare as a unicorn in a library. While 80.5% of elementary teachers are still women, the growing number of men in these roles is a step in the right direction.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

Image Credit: jacoblund/istockphoto.

More from MediaFeed

Are You a Boomer? Stop Saying These Things to the Kids

Like MediaFeed’s content? Be sure to follow us.

Image Credit: Paepaestockphoto/iStock.