WMST-L logo

Women and Physically Demanding Jobs

The following discussion of women and physically demanding jobs took place
on WMST-L in July 2001.  Among the issues it deals with dual standards for
jobs demanding physical strength, discrimination against women seeking such
jobs, men's higher occupational death rates, and how to teach about such
issues in the classroom.  Because of its length, the discussion has been
divided into three parts.  For additional WMST-L files now available on the
Web, see the WMST-L File Collection.

Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2001 11:07:14 -0400
From: Ilana Nash <inash @ BGNET.BGSU.EDU>
Subject: Double standards in physically demanding jobs

One of my students is seeking some help re. a debate she recently found
herself in.  In one of her other classes, all the students -- including
females -- argued strenuously that it's wrong for women to be in
traditionally male-dominated jobs that require strength, like being
firefighters.  The students raised the point that male and female
firefighters don't have to meet the same standards:  while men must be able
to bench-press 200 lbs., women are asked only to bench-press 150.  The class
felt this was a politically-correct piece of hogwash.  It's obvious that men
are stronger than women, they all said;  therefore, it's obvious that this
nonsense about women being firefighters is just one more example of how
those nasty feminists are being ridiculous.  Women do not belong in fire

My student argued that physical strength is a _construct_, not just a
biological fact; that plenty of men are not strong enough to be
firefighters, and that plenty of women are; that boys are socialized to
learn to bulk-up and girls aren't, etc., etc.  But she was the lone voice in
the room, and she didn't have any facts to address this issue of double
standards in the workplace (i.e., women getting off "easier" with the job

Can anyone here point me to some solid information about this issue?
Something about women in "strength" jobs, the politics of the "lower"
standards, how that's handled in various jobs, etc.  Any suggestions would
be welcome, the sooner the better -- my student would like to be able to go
back to class next week with some rebuttals.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Ilana Nash
Women's Studies/American Culture Studies
Bowling Green State University
inash  @  bgnet.bgsu.edu
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2001 10:02:08 -0700
From: Betty Glass <glass @ UNR.EDU>
Subject: Re: Double standards in physically demanding jobs
I can bring a piece of coal to the discussion.  8-)

The same argument above is given to justify the continued disparity in pay
equity.  The reason is given that men deserve higher pay, because their
work is more dangerous.  If women are shut out from participation in
"dangerous work," there is no need for them to expect pay equity.

To me, a serious flaw in the Second Wave platform of the sixties-seventies
was the fallout over women's equal participation in mandatory military
service in the USA.  That provided ample ammunition for the opposing
viewpoint to say that women really aren't capable of doing "men's work,"
or they expect special considerations in the "real world."


Betty J. Glass, Humanities Bibliographer
University Library/322
University of Nevada, Reno
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno, NV  89557-0044

(775) 784-6500 ext. 303
(775) 784-1751 (fax)

glass  @  unr.edu
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2001 14:24:53 -0400
From: hagolem <hagolem @ C4.NET>
Subject: Re: Double standards in physically demanding jobs
Obviously that's a local thing. HEre on the Cape, men and women pass the
same physical standards and generally opinion is the best person on the
rescue squad is a woman, who has saved many lives.

Men and women are a continuum.  Some women are stronger than some men,
etc.  I have known some very strong woman.
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2001 15:48:25 -0400
From: Daphne Patai <daphne.patai @ SPANPORT.UMASS.EDU>
Subject: male/female workers' death rates
There is also a lack of male/female equality in death rates on the job.  See
the following report  from the federal Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, which reveals that even though occupational death rates are
falling, men  account for 93% of all occupational deaths.



Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
April 27, 2001 Vol. 50, No. 16, pp. 317-320

CDC monitors deaths from occupational injuries through the National
Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) surveillance
system (1,2). This report provides an overview of traumatic
occupational deaths among civilian workers from NTOF from
1980 through 1997, the most recent year for which data are available.
The data presented in this report indicate a decrease
in occupational deaths over this period with mining, agriculture/
forestry/fishing, and construction having the highest
death rates; motor-vehicle crashes were the leading cause of injury-
related deaths for U.S. workers. State health
departments and others involved in prevention of occupational injuries
can use the data to prioritize intervention

daphne.patai  @  spanport.umass.edu
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2001 18:17:49 -0400
From: "Denise A. Copelton" <br00849 @ BINGHAMTON.EDU>
Subject: Re: Double standards in physically demanding jobs
I had a similar incident this past semester in my sociology of gender
course.  The issue was the same - women firefighters.  For those
interested in the subject, I highly suggest Carol Chetkovich's book Real
Heat. Nonetheless, the book doesn't exactly address the issues your
student raised concerning differential strength requirements for men and

Here is how I have handled the issue in the past.  Karen Messing has a
wonderful book entitled One-Eyed Science (1998, Temple UP) which deals
with occupational health.  I use some of the ideas she presents in this
book to help explain why differential strength requirements exist for male
and female workers in such jobs as firefighting (though the argument has
also been raised for construction work, police work, certain areas of the
military, and other traditionally male occupations).  I'll borrow from her
chapter "Are Women Biologically fit for Jobs? Are Jobs Fit for Women?" (Ch

I agree with everything your student has said thus far. Tests of this
sort are based on average abilities.  Of course, some women will be able
to lift the same heavy weight that some men will not be able to lift and
vice-versa.  What may make a difference in a woman's ability to lift the
object is how she is being told to lift it.  If workers are told that
there is one appropriate way to lift an object (like a person in a
fire), and that lifting procedure was developed using men who were the
traditional workers in that field, then the procedure will most likely
make the most of men's upper body strength.  What Messing and her
colleagues found was that if women are allowed to develop their own
techniques to lift heavy objects, then they will most likely shift the
burden toward their lower-body strength and perform the task successfully.
Women will use their hips. Think of how women hold babies for long periods
of time - they balance the baby on their hips.  When I have to lift
heavy boxes of books to high shelves, for instance, I rest the book on
my hip, then I scoot it up from there.
This is a practical solution to the problem of holding and/or lifting
heavy objects whether these objects be babies, boxes of books, or adults
caught in a fire.  When given some freedom to structure how they
will perform certain tasks on the job, women are much more likely to be
able to perform on par with men than when women are told "this is how it
needs to be done."  The argument Messing makes is that jobs traditionally held
by men (such as firefighting) developed tests (such as strength tests)
specifically with men's bodies in mind.

Jobs are social constructions - there is nothing "natural" about picking
up a hose, driving a fire truck, running into a burning building with an
ax, etc. etc.  These are tasks that were constructed for accomplishing a
certain end goal.  The equipment developed for use in these
activities was also socially constructed.  In jobs traditionally held by
men, the equipment constructed was designed with men's average
bodies and abilities in mind.  Messing uses an example of a baker - also a
traditionally male job.  Sacks of sugar could be of any weight - the
decision to make sacks of sugar 40 pounds each instead of 20 pounds each
is a political decision which takes for granted the strength of the
"average" (male) baker who will be required to lift the bag.  But such
sacks of sugar could just as easily have been made 20 pounds a piece.
Further, women could likely lift the 40 lb. bag of flour if she is allowed
to develop a technique suited to her own body.

Messing's main point is that jobs are adaptable.  They have usually been
adapted to men because men were the traditional workers in those jobs.
When women come along and ask that the job be adapted to their average
capabilities, however, this strikes people as being unfair, as
somehow lowering the standards of the job, or as admitting that women are
not as capable as men, or in creating "double standards". In fact, the job
itself, the techniques, and the  equipment used were designed to "fit"
with men's average capabilities (they were and many still are - male
standards) and so are biased in favor of male
workers. Again, this is not to say that some women will not be able to
perform the job or that some men won't.  But, too often the equipment and
techniques used in a particular job are not suited to the average woman,
but then this is used to justify the notion that the average woman is not
suited for the job. Messing suggests we think of it differently:

"Fitness for a job must be considered as an interaction between
individuals (with all their possibilities for change) and a plastic,
adaptable work environment.  But when a woman wants to take a
nontraditional job, people regard fitness as a static characteristic of
the woman alone.  They ask whether she is strong enough, stable enough,
etc." (p. 37)

"The scientific field of pre-employment strength testing has been modeled
on the male body and on the type of strength required in jobs done most
often by men...The whole idea of pre-employnet testing seems to be based
on a misunderstanding of how workers interact dynamically with their jobs
while trying to protect their health.  This misconception results in
strength tests that are not related to real-life job requirements and do
not meet the needs of any workers.  The do, however, serve effectively to
support discrimination against women." (p. 39-40)

I hope this helps.  I have not done justice to Messing's argument and the
reams of data she has collected on this.  I encourage anyone interested to
look at her work which is very accessible. I will not have access to
e-mail for the next week, but look forward to reading other list-members
responses after that time.

-Denise Copelton

Denise A. Copelton, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Augustana College
2001 S. Summit Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57197

E-mail: br00849  @  binghamton.edu
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2001 18:07:10 -0500
From: Sheryl LeSage <sjlesage @ OU.EDU>
Subject: Re: Double standards in physically demanding jobs
Well, not to be nit-picky, but we were trying to get into "real" military
positions, not "mandatory service."  The US military hasn't had mandatory
service since the early 1970's.  What those of us who were interested in
military service wanted was to not be forced into "girl" jobs when we knew
we could do all the other ones, too.  When I enlisted in 1982, I wanted the
hardest service there was, so I went to the Marines: their response to my
very high test scores was "How fast can you type?"  so I joined the Army,
which trained me to understand Czech and made me responsible for many
millions of dollars' worth of electronic intelligence-gathering equipment.
And promoted me to Sergeant and put me in charge of male soldiers (and not
least of all, gave me $20,000 to go to college later on).

As for physical differences, it's true that the U.S. military had and still
does have different requirements for male and female soldiers.  This is not
because women ever asked for it, though, as you can well imagine.  I could
have passed the male physical requirements when I was a hardcore, athletic
18-year-old.  I used make that point by doing my physical training at
language school with the guys in Special Forces (the Green Berets), although
I was the only woman who either could keep up with them or was interested in
trying.  Most of the women I served with were fully able to do the physical
parts of general soldiering.

As for this providing ammunition to nay-sayers, you're completely correct.
But, as others on this list have also pointed out, physical strength is a
continuum.  Most men can't pass the physical requirements for Special Forces
or Ranger school, but nobody laughs and points at the ones who fail.  They
just point at the women who CAN pass such requirements and say "freak."

And yes, there's a whole 'nother kettle of fish in this discussion--nobody
will dispute, I hope, the necessity for having firefighters.  Male or
female, they should be able to carry me out of a burning building and I want
them on the other end of the phone when I call.  Few people on this list
would make the same argument for the military, and I wouldn't either.  Just
wanted to explain the above from a different point of view.

Sheryl LeSage
U of Oklahoma
sjlesage  @  ou.edu
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2001 15:41:14 -0700
From: "James H. Steiger" <steiger @ UNIXG.UBC.CA>
Subject: Re: Double standards in physically demanding jobs

While it would be unreasonable, in some occupations,
to require men and women to be "equally represented,"
just as it would be unreasonable to expect tall and short people
to be equally represented in basketball or the jockey trade,
it is unlikely that there are jobs, even very demanding
ones, that women cannot qualify for. Although the most
physically gifted men still overwhelmingly outperform
women, there is plenty of overlap in the male-female
distributions, and there are many women who
outperform very well conditioned

For many men, the most convincing demonstration is no
farther away than your local fitness club. Many of these
clubs have at least one Concept II fitness rower, a highly
accurate device used for training by olympic rowers all over
the world.  The device is so accurate that indoor rowing races
are held many times a year using Concept IIs.

Take your average macho male from the fitness club, and set the
rower up for a 2000 meter sprint. Rowing 2000 meters at top speed
is an all out test of brutal strength, coordination, and cardiovascular
fitness, both aerobic and anaerobic.  Your typical 6' 180 pound male
in decent physical condition will be lucky to break 8:00 for a 2000
meter row, without some serious practice.

The feeling a Concept II gives you is that it is unmistakeably "tough"
stereotypically male activity. It takes genuine strength to crank the
thing up to speed, and real endurance to keep it going.

A very well conditioned male aerobics regular will crack 7:15. A serious
amateur competitor at age 40 can hit about 7:00 (although
a handful can do much better). Most men in pretty good condition
will keel over and fall off the rower after rowing just 500
METERS in 1:45, i.e., a 7 minute pace.

A 6'5, 220 pound male rower in perfect olympic condition can hit about
on a Concept 2.

But a top woman competitor about 6'1, 175 pounds at the national level
can row 6:45, vastly better than virtually ANY man you will ever
in a health club, unless he came over from rowing practice.

So here's the point. Invite your dubious male commentators over to a
Concept II, sit them down, and ask them to try rowing 500 meters in 1:45
to get the "feel of it." Watch them carefully (many will
not be able to do it). Then casually mention
that there are dozens of women who can row 2000 meters at that pace.
argument is, trust me, VERY convincing. And, most important, these facts
about female performance are all VERY well documented right on the
Concept II website.

James H. Steiger, Professor
Department of Psychology
University of British Columbia
2136 West Mall
Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6T 1Z4
Voice and Fax; (604)-822-2706
EMAIL: steiger  @  unixg.ubc.ca
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2001 10:27:03 -0700
From: Barry Deutsch <itsbarry @ HOME.COM>
Subject: Re: Double standards in physically demanding jobs
>From "Health," February 1991, v23, n1, page 28.


Could you pass this test? * Pull a rope that runs over a pulley and is tied to
a 70-lb. block, raising and lowering the weight 15 feet three times in 90
seconds. * Strap on a 50-lb. pack and walk up and down a flight of steps for
10 minutes. * Drag a 100-foot hose 125 feet, hook it up, unhook it and drag it
back, all in 75 seconds. * Lift an 82-lb. ladder overhead and, without letting
it touch your body, set it against the side of a building.

Until 1989, only 15 to 20 percent of the women put through these moves as a
prerequisite to joining the Los Angeles Fire Department passed. Now the female
pass rate is more than 90 percent, thanks to a program designed to help women
master the test. Thought to be the only one of its kind, the training program
develops strength --especially in the upper body, where women fall short --and
aerobic conditioning. "Women practice the very tasks they'll do on the job,"
says Captain Jim Bird, who oversees the program and hopes to give seminars on
it to women around the country. "In the process they become exceptionally
Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2001 11:03:02 -0400
From: "Oboler, Regina" <roboler @ URSINUS.EDU>
Subject: Re: Double standards in physically demanding jobs
With regard to firefighting, nobody has yet mentioned the point that
dragging victims from burning buildings is actually a *better* technique
than the traditional fireman's carry, because there is a lower percentage of
noxious fumes at floor level.  These discussions always seem to start from
the assumption that doing the job the way guys have always done it is
optimal, when that is the very idea that needs to be intensely interrogated.
At the very least, assessment of one's fitness to do the job should be based
on tasks that are actually part of the job (in my examination as a
lifeguard, e.g., one of the tasks was to haul 120 lb. of bricks in a sack --
yes, humans weigh more, but they also have some natural buoyancy -- from the
bottom of a 12-ft. depth of water) as opposed to something like how many
push-ups you can do.

  -- Gina
Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2001 11:37:21 -0400
From: Daphne Patai <daphne.patai @ SPANPORT.UMASS.EDU>
Subject: dragging people out of a fire
Actually, the idea that  "dragging" people out of a fire is preferable
because they're closer to the floor comes from Gloria Steinem. She made that
comment in 1995 on the ABC News special "Boys and Girls Are Different: Men,
Women and the Sex Difference."   I don't know whether or not it's true, but
what happens when you get to the ladder?

daphne.patai  @  spanport.umass.edu
Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2001 10:56:41 -0500
From: Cathy Bogart <bogartcj @ MAIL.AVILA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Double standards in physically demanding jobs
Have them look at Anne Fausto-Sterling's (a feminist biologist) book - "The
Myths of Gender"

Ilana Nash wrote:

>  Greetings,
> One of my students is seeking some help re. a debate she recently found
> herself in. 
Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2001 12:53:10 -0400
From: "Oboler, Regina" <roboler @ URSINUS.EDU>
Subject: Re: dragging people out of a fire
Yes, it's true that Steinem made that point in a TV interview, but it's a
point I heard before the 1995 comment by Steinem.  It has a long history in
discussions of this topic -- I remember the recommendation to keep smoke
inhalation victims close to the floor in a First Aid/Safety book years ago.
Is Steinem's association with the point supposed to strengthen or weaken it?

What happens when you get to the ladder?  Needs to be worked out.  What I
said is that there is a need to interrogate whether the job *has* to be done
in the way men have traditionally done it.  Why do we assume that the best
way to get people out of burning buildings is for somebody to carry them
down a ladder?  Why not have a crane and basket of the type used for rescues
at sea?  I'm not the expert here, only posing the principle that we should
not assume that "how it's always been done" is the only or even the best
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 07:30:01 -0500
Subject: Re: Double standards in physically demanding jobs

A: Assuming we are talking about physical standards on the job and
not just entrance requirements; the two tend to be two different

B: Agreed, there is usually more than one way to do something. I'm a
marvel to people because of my ability to lift people, huge trees,
as if they were rag dolls. I'm able to do it because of a mind over
matter technique I've learned over the years coupled with muscle
isolation. Simply put, for the mind over matter, I visualize the
success, allow no element of failure to enter that vision, focus
only on the area of contact (ie, the pot and trunk of a 12 foot
tree) and mentally, work only in that area. The body responds by
having all the muscles work together all at once. Or, in a simpler
example, I can pull myself out of the water onto a small boat by
grabbing a railing, locking the arm muscles down, and having the
rest of the body operate as one and pull against the body.

The point is, that this is a learned technique. It is something I've
learned that I can do with my body (probably from various sources
but the essential refinement was in ballet), but it is not natural.
I mean, I've watched my two brothers struggle with those trees and
had to use a cart to move them.

C: If the arguement is that genders should be in jobs for which they
are best suited for, then use this on such people. A woman tends to
have a better cardio-vascular system with more flexibility and
greater oxygen blood flow. With her center of mass, she is better
able to handle high performance flight. She tends to be lighter and
smaller and yet is able to perform the same job which the piloting
of the aircraft. Aircraft physics are highly dependent on the weight
allocated to the pilot; would it not make more sense to build the
aircraft around the better/smaller pilot and allocate the change of
weight to more fuel or weapons?

After all, how much strength does a pilot need to pull a missile

Unreasonable? During the Cold War, Japan built a tank which looked
very much like the American model of the time. The opinion was, "Why
did they bother?" Well, they built it to the statue of their people
which gave them more room for fuel and ammo. So it has been done
before (I'll have to go to my books to find the type).


At the risk of getting a little out of the subject range and eating
up bandwidth, someone mentioned of why does the ladder have to be
the best way, why not a crane and basket as in sea rescues?

Budget. That's what it comes down to in the end. The Budget; whether
or not a particular department can afford the equipment for the job.
I do not know the cost of a ladder but I suspect that it is cheaper
than a crane and a basket. While a crane and basket might require
less in strength than a ladder, if a ladder is all you can afford,
then in order to get the job done, it is assume that one will dip
into the elbow grease more.

I'm not a fire fighter per ce, but I have seen the differences in
'departments'. When I first went thru flight deck FF school, the
instructor was telling me that I wouldn't have to get involved much
since I'd be up in the control booth......until he realized that on
my ship, I was down on the flight deck, that there was no control
booth, that I would be involved. (Actually, probably not; if the
helo crashed on deck, I'd probably be under it). When I went thru
merchant marine firefighting, they were still using animal based
protein foams (ancient stuff). Last year, I trained with FF and
Police dive teams. The border team I trained with was adequately
equipped BUT we were all in awe of the State Agency that had all the
newest, best stuff around.

There are other methods I've seen that FF departments have used to
get the cash for equipment or maintainance, such as cheesecake
calendars, such as charging for special emergency services like the
claws, but I won't go into that in depth here. The point is made.

Whether or not you can use the best equipment, the best way of doing
something, will be limited by money. If there isn't money available,
then you use other techniques to get the job done the best way you
can. THAT I know, having to run a police department on a limited

th06  @  swt.edu
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 11:21:43 -0400
From: MichaelSKimmel <MichaelSKimmel @ COMPUSERVE.COM>
Subject: male/female death rates
Daphne Patai writes:
>There is also a lack of male/female equality in death rates on the
job.  See the following report  from the federal Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, which reveals that even though occupational
death rates are falling, men  account for 93% of all occupational

I've always found this factoid fascinating, especially in debates with
Warren Farrell, who complains that men have no power because they take all
the awful and dangerous jobs.  May I point out, as others no doubt have
already done, that those disproportionate occupational death rates are a
function of two other facts: (1) the occupations that are most dangerous
are also the ones where men have more fiercely resisted women's entry and
are therefore the most gender disproportionate; and (2) that in some of
them, following legally mandated safety precautions is seen as "sissy"
behavior, and so many men have to choose between safety and masculinity. 
(The Oncale Supreme Court case is a good illustration of this, since
Oncale's "crime" - what initially made him a target - was that he wore his
hard hat in a hard hat area.)  It always seems disingenous to me to first
exclude women from entry and then complain that men are therefore the
victims of such disparate rates.

Michael Kimmel

Michael Kimmel
Brooklyn, NY 
michaelskimmel  @  compuserve.com
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 12:59:39 -0700
From: "James H. Steiger" <steiger @ UNIXG.UBC.CA>
Subject: Re: male/female death rates
Rather than being taken by surprise by Kimmel's
points, Farrell would simply point out that he
covers both of them, quite nicely, in
"The Myth of Male Power."

Consider Kimmel's point (1).

Rather than being surprised by it,
Farrell acknowledges it, and deals with it at considerable
length on p. 121, in a section with the heading "How the neglect
of men and the overprotection of women leads to discrimination against

Kimmel seems determined
to blame men for being foolishly macho on the job.
Farrell acknowledges the role of the macho ethic,
but places it in the broader context of the general
disposability of men, and the pressures men experience
from their mates, their families, their bosses,
and their society.

For example, re Kimmel's point (2), Farrell has
much to say, although his emphasis is slightly different.
To Farrell, the pressure to be unsafe comes both from
above (i.e., from male bosses) AND within (the pressure
to be a good provider). The internal pressure is not
just to be "macho," although I agree with Michael
that this is a factor. Men who "fail to provide"
for "their families" have long been stigmatized
in most societies. Hence, when a man can find nothing
but dangerous work, he takes it.

My brother, now a Ph.D. in sociology, found himself
unemployed one summer when he was around 20. He hunted around and all he
could find was a job as a garbage collector. After
a week on the job, he was a mass of bruises and was,
besides, feeling rather ill from breathing the foul
stench. [Being a garbage collector is extremely dangerous.
You slip and fall, you get cut, you strain yourself lifting
heavy items. You are exposed to toxic chemicals.]

My brother described (much as Farrell does
in Chapter 4 of his book) the extensive hazards
and dangers of the job. I asked him why he continued, and he said
something to the effect that he had to continue. Otherwise,
he wouldn't have the money he needed to date his girlfriend.

I doubt you'll ever see women lining up for garbage
collection positions. They tend to exclude themselves from
this type of work. If Michael has evidence that (qualified)
women are being "excluded" from garbage collection, I'd
like to see it. How many people in this newsgroup know any
woman who ever applied for a garbage collection position?

To quote Farrell ("Myth of Male Power," p. 119)

Letting men die is a money-saving device. Safety
costs money. When contractors bid low to get a job,
they need to pressure men to complete work lest they go bankrupt.

As one safety official put it, 'When everything is hurry, hurry,
hurry, when you start pressuring people and taking
shortcuts, things can go wrong. And then people die.'

Incidentally, the "sissy" argument cuts both ways. Many male
garbage collectors would be better off training as nurses.
Which raises the interesting question: Why are men so underrepresented
in the nursing profession, and why aren't university "diversity"
officers doing anything about it?  Is it partially
because the "male nurse" is stigmatized as a "sissy"
or an "inferior" in our society? [Thoughts of the Jerry Stiller-
Robert DeNiro comedy "Meet the Family" come to mind.]

James H. Steiger, Professor
Department of Psychology
University of British Columbia
2136 West Mall
Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6T 1Z4
Voice and Fax; (604)-822-2706
EMAIL: steiger  @  unixg.ubc.ca
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 17:49:01 -0400
From: Jacqueline Ellis <jellis @ ABACUS.BATES.EDU>
Subject: Re: male/female death rates
> I doubt you'll ever see women lining up for garbage
> collection positions. They tend to exclude themselves from
> this type of work. If Michael has evidence that (qualified)
> women are being "excluded" from garbage collection, I'd
> like to see it. How many people in this newsgroup know any
> woman who ever applied for a garbage collection position?
Certainly this is a gendered issue, but this last comment -- along with
the story about your brother's summer job -- seems to suggest that class
is much more salient concern. I doubt anyone, given the choice, would
"line up" for a garbage collection position, except that it is fairly well
paid compared to the equivalent jobs occupied by working-class women, like
waitressing or clerical work, say (and also that it carries medical
benefits, etc. if the collectors are municipal employees and not

The fundamental point, for me, is that on-the-job deaths and injuries are
symptomatic of the lack of provisions and concerns for working-class
peoples lives, men and women.

Jacqueline Ellis
Bates College
jellis  @  bates.edu
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 16:31:27 -0500
From: "Margaret E. Kosal" <nerdgirl @ S.SCS.UIUC.EDU>
Subject: Re: male/female death rates
At 12:59 PM 7/16/2001 -0700, Jim wrote:
>Men who "fail to provide"
>for "their families" have long been stigmatized
>in most societies. Hence, when a man can find nothing
>but dangerous work, he takes it.

Whereas, a womynz final employment option is prostitution.

Margaret E. Kosal, Ph.D.
Department of Chemistry
School of Chemical Sciences
University of Illinois
600 S. Mathews Ave. 38-6
Urbana IL  61801

phone: 217.333.1532
fax: 217.333.2685
email: nerdgirl  @  s.scs.uiuc.edu

"The mind, like Nature, abhors a vacuum."
    Victor Hugo, L'Homme Qui Rit (The Man Who Laughs)

For information about WMST-L

WMST-L File Collection

Top Of PageNext Page