Would Teacher Salaries Get There Quicker If More Teachers Were Men?

In 2019, the Starfish Institute, a non-profit advisory group I founded, conducted research for a Fortune 50 company on the challenges to recruiting and retaining front-line health workers in South Africa. Among all the reasons identified, one stood out: Nurses and midwives were undervalued as a profession. In some languages, “midwife” was a derogatory term. Lurking beneath the prestige challenge, interviewees explained, was the gendered nature of the profession, in which 70% of the workforce was female. The care-taking that front-line health workers did was seen as women’s work; it was undervalued and less prestigious; and, as a result, salaries were lower.

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