Exploring men’s reasons to enter female dominated occupations, investigating how male social care workers incorporate empathy into their gender identity and their delivery of care.

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Moore, Jaqueline
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BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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This project sought to gain insight into the reasons behind men who choose to work in caring professions that are dominated by females. It also endeavoured to explore how men incorporate empathy into their gender identities and delivery of care. Semi-structured interviews where used to collect data. The main aim of this research was to try and establish if males who choose to work in a caring profession and show more empathy than those who don’t have become this empathetic. The research also endeavoured to give the participants space to explore their view on their masculinity and how this is affected by working in a gendered care arena. This report finds that the participants showed an informed view on their reasons behind choosing a career in a female dominated environment and how they see themselves in terms of masculinity. No one definitive common reason to enter such a profession was found, however, all participants spoke about their own personal circumstances that influenced their journey to care work. The participants were given space to articulate what it is like for them to work in a gendered care arena which uncovered for them feelings of isolation and an awareness of the difficulties surrounding this while also highlighting the positives gained. Their conversations around masculinities highlighted that not just one type of masculinity is attracted to care work however all masculinities brought its positives and negatives that needed to be traversed within the female dominated care work arena. The participants also showed an in-depth understanding of empathy, its importance and dangers and highlighted how self-reflection and awareness was important in order to deliver empowering care.