Professional Development

The New “Pink Collar”

I recently read an article in Time magazine which encouraged the retirement of the term “Pink Collar,” but I kind of like the term (in case you didn’t know).  To provide perspective, you can read the entire Time article here, The Term “Pink Collar” Is Silly And Outdated — Let’s Retire It.  For those who don’t want to read the entire article, here are a few points it makes. The term pink collar was coined to describe the jobs traditionally filled by women – nurses, teachers, secretaries, etc. Like the terms “white collar” and “blue collar,” the term “pink collar” evokes a sense of separation. The article also states that the term is outdated, because males are now also filling jobs that were traditionally under the “pink collar” umbrella.  In fact, it states 33% of male job growth between 2000-2010 was in “pink collar” career fields. It claims the male job growth in traditionally female career fields is not a result of women migrating to different jobs “pinkifying” other career fields, but instead is a result of a growth in demand for these positions.

While these facts may be true, I can’t help but disagree with the author’s conclusion that the term “pink collar” is outdated and should be retired. Women may not be “pinkifying” other career fields, but we certainly are representing in traditionally male dominated career fields. I think we all know The Fortune 500 hit a record this year with 18 female CEOs! While this certainly is still a very small percentage, it also is a sign of what’s to come. There is a massive female workforce waiting in the wings, prepared to step into C-level positions. This would have been unimaginable only a few short years ago.

I view the term “pink collar” a bit differently. I think “pink collar” describes a workforce that is limitless, fearless, and resilient. A workforce with heart and passion. It describes a workforce that is committed, dedicated, and hard working. It brings with it a rich history of oppression and liberation. Retiring it would deny our past and restrict our future. I say we embrace who we are, how far we’ve come, and where we are going. We are unique and so is our community. We are the new “pink collar.”

2 thoughts on “The New “Pink Collar”

  1. Love your new Blog (as you can see by my e-mail addy I am proud to be pink).
    The Times Article has it alllll wrong. ESPECIALLY for those of us that are still working in traditionally male dominated industries, trying to put our best pink-heeled foot forward when faced with countless “Good Ol’ Boys Clubs.” The New Pink Collar, for me personally, is a collar that still has wars to wage, still has some battles to win. It’s inevitable – it will happen, but it can be so draining in the meanwhile. As you mention though, an inspiring number of female CEO’s have gained some footing for the rest of us. In my industry (defense/aerospace) I see more and more women moving into key positions, but quite honestly not enough and – most disturbingly – not the cream of the crop. Why? Because “a woman” is chosen over “the best qualified candidate” (which in many cases would still be a woman) to keep appearances politically correct while the threat level is down. Yes, I know I sound like a conspiracy theorist, but I whole-heartedly believe to have seen this time and time again with my own eyes. In fact, I will take it a step further. I have seen obviously ill-qualified women placed in a highly visible coveted positions for no other reason than for the “group” to be able to say “See? We told you so! Women can’t handle it.” Yes, really – it happens. It’s even caused me to develop my own survival methods to avoid this pitfall (one I use is called “The Wilted Flower.”) So I agree, the Pink Collar is not to be retired – it is back, and it’s renewed, refreshed and rejuvenated with more work to do. And well supported with a blog like this 🙂

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