Why Does Caring Hold A Low Status

Blog 101



Blue-collar work or manual work is often defined as low-status jobs. Although several manual occupations require a certain level of education, it is still not perceived status to perform a manual job. In this one should ask the question, low-status to whom? Whether we talk about construction, cleaning toilets or nursery – these functions are vital for our survival and functioning. Caretaking occupations, such as nursing and elderly caretakers, continue to occupy the low-status job ranking. This is not limited to specific contexts – it seems a phenomenon common to many countries. While practically every modern society and its most vulnerable citizens are dependent on the services and yes, care, provided by caretakers, this has not led to a proportional increase of caretaking occupations. Is this because we simply don’t care or because we take a traditional domestic sphere for granted?

It is ironic that some of the most-in-demand occupations offer least privileges both in terms of salary and in many places acceptable working hours. Conditions typical to many low-status jobs are known to elevate stress among employees. Because caretaking occupations tend to be understaffed, current employees face an undue and often unreasonable work conditions. This does not lead to further the actual care provided through such occupations, on the contrary, those suffering under such conditions are first those in need of assistance and second those performing the service.

Typically we will find a deficit in many developmental countries where it is most needed. Fragile health systems and heavy disease burdens has over years created a fluctuation of health personal from poor to rich countries. The total opposite of how it should be. Skilled health professionals in developmental countries are often so low paid that they have difficulties making ends meet – understandable they would seek for better opportunities overseas or within non-governmental organizations. This means that the most qualified personal in countries that need it most often disappear.

Occupations defined as low-status are often defined by educational requirements needed to undertake the main tasks following the job but is this fair? Caretaking occupations have traditionally been a domestic sphere and perhaps as indicated above, we take care for granted. If we valued the efforts and amount of work health personal lay down every day to take care of our own and sometimes ourselves, we would not constantly have a health sector facing understaffing, underpaid, overworked staff, lack of adequate equipment and proper facilities. Caretaking occupations will remain low status until we realize that these are among the most important functions performed in our society

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