Women and men are commonly seen as having different strengths and weaknesses. Is it right to exclude males or females from certain professions because of their gender?
There have always been differences in the types of work men and women have done. However, the trend in modern times has been for both men and women to have greater freedom of choice in terms of employment. Some people might say that there is no need to go further. However, in my view, whether possible, gender equality should be encouraged.
There may indeed be good arguments for allowing certain posts to remain predominantly male or female. Where all-male or all-female groups exist, there may be a need for related posts to be held by men and women to look after them. It could also be argued that certain jobs requiring a great deal of physical strength, coal mining or logging, for example, should continue to be done mainly by men.
However, in the vast majority of situations, making occupations more open to both genders has distinct advantages. Men and women can bring slightly different perspectives and approaches to a job. Female police officers, for example, may have a greater understanding of domestic violence and a better range of strategies for dealing with this problem. Male primary school teenagers probably have a better understanding of the needs of young boys and can serve as good role models for them.
The changes that result from allowing men into female-dominated occupations and vice versa may be subtle, but they are far-reaching. However, to benefit the most from this development, it is important not to expect males and females to approach work in identical ways.