Gender Association and Preferences In Nursing Profession

Afza.Malik GDA

Nursing Profession and Gender Association Preference

Gender Association and Preferences In Nursing Profession

Gender and Nursing Professionals ,Economical Factors,Gender Traits and Effects,Gender Identity,Gender Preferences for Nursing.

Gender and Nursing Professionals 

    Gender is an old term used in linguistic discourse to designate whether nouns are masculine, feminine, or neuter. It was not normally used either in the language of social sciences or nursing until after 1955, when the psychologist sexologist John Money adopted the term to serve as an umbrella concept distinguishing femininity, or womanliness, and masculinity, or manliness, from biological sex ( male or female). 

    By using the word gender he believed he could avoid continually making qualifying statements about her maphrodites he was studying, such as "John was in a male sex role except that his sex organs are not male and his genetic sex is female" (Money , 1955). 

    Sex, in his research, belonged more to reproductive biology than to social science, romance, and nurture, whereas gender belonged to both (Money & Ehrhardt, 1972). By using a new term to describe a variety of phenomena, Money opened up a whole new field of research. It was a field ripe for exploration because it appealed to the increasingly powerful feminist movement (Bullough, 1994).

Economical Factors

    Even as money was putting forth his ideas about the influence of sociopsychological factors (nurture) during critical periods of child development, he was strongly criticized by Milton Diamond, another psychologist active in sex research. 

    Diamond (1965) indicated that gender decisions for hermaphrodites, about whom Money had originally drawn his data, were perhaps not as clear-cut as Money implied. 

    Diamond hypothesized that an individual hermaphrodite might be receiving mixed biological signals, which allowed him or her to conform to the assigned gender rather than change it. He charged that Money was in danger of deemphasizing biology, or nature, and overemphasizing nurture.

    The argument over nature versus nurture continues, although both sides recognize the influence of both factors and it remains an argument over degree. At their scientific best, most biologists and social or behavioral scientists agree that the coding of gender is multivariate, sequential, and developmental, reflecting a complex interaction across the boundaries of disciplines and across biological and social variables.

Gender Traits and Effects

    Ann Constantinople (1973) questioned the assumption that masculinity was the opposite of femininity and suggested that the identification of masculine traits might be independent from, rather than the opposite of, the identification of feminine traits. 

    The "both/and" concept of psychological identification quickly replaced the "either/or" not ion that had dominated thinking on the matter since Lewis Terman developed his scales of masculinity and femininity. 

    Sandra Bem (1974) developed a gender identity measure, the Bem Sex Role Inventory, that treated identification with masculine traits independently of identification with feminine traits. 

    Spence and Helmreich (1974) found wide variation in gender traits, although they also found that stereotypical masculine personality traits in males were correlated with self esteem, which reflects just how much influence society and culture have on self-esteem. 

    However, the difficulty remains because the scales are based on observable patterns without any attempt to evaluate whether there are behaviors that must be distinctly limited to males or to females.

Gender Identity

    Bonnie Bullough held that the formation of gender identity and sexual preference included three steps: 

(a) a genetic predisposition.

(b) prenatal hormonal stimulation that might follow or interfere with the genetic predisposition.

(c) socialization patterns that shape specific manifestation of the predisposition (Bullough & Bullough, 1993). 

    This theory would allow for wider variations in gene behavior than those of some other theorists. For example, Nancy Chodorow (1978) noted out that infants, both males and females, generally have the most contact with their mothers and initially identify and form intense relationships with their mothers. 

    For girls, this identification is never completely severed, but boys must relinquish their identification with their mothers as they take on masculine roles.

    Khodorov maintained that this differing experience produced distinct coping strategies for males and females in dealing with the world. Specifically, women emphasize relationships with others, whereas men focus on their own individualism and independence from others. 

    Gilligan (1982) pointed out that to hold this view limits personality development. A woman (or for that matter, a man) who views herself only in relationship to others (eg, wife or mother but not an individual in her own right) may limit her own independent development. 

    The man (or woman) who views himself only in terms of his own achievements and independence (boss, owner, director, sole author) may handicap his capacity for intimate connections with others. Obviously, conceptions of gender influence the way we think about what men and women can accomplish or achieve. 

Gender Preferences for Nursing

    Probably most nursing theorists have followed Gilligan (1982), although a minority have emphasized the unique nature of being a woman. This is particularly true of some of the caring theorists. 

    Dorothy Johnson (1959), who wrote before the concept of gender was fully developed, distinguished between caring and curing, and emphasized the caring aspects of nursing. This influenced Jean Watson in the establishment of caring centers. The concept of caring also became part of the basic educational mission of nursing.

    The caring theory fits well into traditional concepts now associated with gender, but the problem is that one fact of nursing interpreted caring as a uniquely feminine quality and in the process ignored most of the mainstream research on gender. 

    Nurses are involved in gender research, but only a few nurses have really done the quantitative studies needed to challenge the persistence of earlier stereotypes both within and outside of the profession.


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