12 minutes in segregationland

When my daughter was 3 I accidentally told her the “gas guy” was coming to work on the house. Then I corrected myself, “Actually, I don’t know if it will be a man or a woman.”

She said, “I think it’s a man.”

Children seem to have much better learning capacity than adults (or at least better than I do). A parent telling them something about gender segregation doesn’t have much weight compared with hour after hour, day after day of simple observation.

So the other day I had 12 minutes to kill at the train station in DC. I took pictures of everyone I saw working, including the unpaid work of childcare but not including people working as servers behind counters. This is not research. I was just wondering what a child might notice about gender and work.

Here’s who I saw, with the national gender composition of their presumed occupations, from the American Community Survey:

Railroad conductors and yardmasters: 93% male

Baggage porters, bellhops, and concierges: 84% male

Grandmother (?) and grandchild: 91% of children who live with a grandparent live with a grandmother. 9% live with a grandfather and no grandmother present. http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2011.html

Janitors: 75% male

Concrete finishers: 99% male (or could be construction laborers, 98% male)

Construction supervisors: 97% male

Shoe shiners: gender composition not listed.

Driver/sales workers and truck drivers: 96% male

Family members caring for children: 97% of married stay-at-home parents are women (those staying out of the labor force all year while spouse works all year)

Finally, a non-gender-typical worker, a man caring for young child in a stroller.

Not shown:

Male security guards: 78% male

Male police officers: 86% male

Again, this is not research — I was just looking around.


Filed under Me @ work

8 responses to “12 minutes in segregationland

  1. There’s also striking racial patterns in these pictures.


  2. dcompton

    I think this sort of “looking around” really helps to generate new ideas. In fact, I think I have already had at least two from this post and I just read it.


  3. ronjohn63

    The post doesn’t seem to explain why you call it “segregationland”?


  4. Why did you leave out servers?


  5. Pingback: Teaching family inequality: Some posts by subject | Family Inequality

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