Sexism Is Rife In The Way We Link All These Job Titles To Gender

illustrated by Norah Stone.
Only 5% of people in the UK presume a doctor will be female, according to new research.
Among over 55s, this figure falls to 2%, an especially dismal lack of association considering that close to half (44%) of doctors working in the UK are female.
The research by LinkedIn found that the job title Brits most associate with women is receptionist, with 69% presuming this person will be female.
Nursery teacher (67%), nurse (63%) and cleaner (56%) are also job titles heavily associated with women, the research found.
Of the 4,000 people polled, 56% said they assume a model will be female, compared to just 4% who said they assume a model will be male.
Advertisement
Meanwhile, LinkedIn found that the job titles most readily associated with men are builder, plumber, electrician, farmer and taxi driver.
Perhaps more encouragingly, the research found that people are less likely to associate newer job titles such as SEO specialist or social media manager with one gender or the other. In the medium-to-long-term, this could have a positive impact on the UK's gender pay gap, which has closed slightly year-on-year, but still stands at 8.6% for full-time employees.
Dr Natasha Larmie, a GP at a surgery in Hertfordshire, said of the results: "This new research from LinkedIn comes as no surprise to me as I’ve often had people assume that I am a man when I go by my professional title. It’s frustrating that so many of us still have these ingrained assumptions at a time when there are actually a large number of female doctors working in the UK."
"That being said, women are still not well represented at the top of our profession, which may explain why people assume that most doctors are men," Dr Larmie added. "I think we have all been guilty of making unconscious gender associations at some point or other, and it’s only by talking about this issue and discussing ways to address it that we’ll make real progress on avoiding gendered assumptions in the future."
A female GP in her late twenties working at a surgery in Somerset, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Refinery29 she has even had patients comment on her appearance in the workplace.
"Some elderly female patients do ask specifically to see a 'lady doctor', which I can completely understand even though I don't particularly like that phrase," she said.
"But I have been told in the past that I would look more 'professional' if I wore more make-up to work or dressed in a way they perceive as 'smarter'. I'm absolutely sure it's not meant unkindly, but I've never heard of a patient making any kind of comment on a male doctor's appearance or suggesting ways he could look or act more 'professional'. It can sometimes feel as though we [female doctors] are held to different standards than the men."
Advertisement

More from Work & Money