Being Male in a Female-Dominated Profession

by Matt

The purpose of this blog post is to write about being a man in a female dominated profession and school.  However, as any good social worker worth their salt would tell you, it is important to understand this on a systemic level, so I will provide some context first.

 In the beginning, there was the egg and the sperm.  Whoa! Hold on Matt!  Why are we talking about reproduction?  Don’t worry, I’m not trying to sell some sort of new birth control method to stoke the culture wars.  If you can imagine the relative size of the egg as compared to the lowly sperm, you would see that, even in the beginning, there was a lot more of woman than man.  Even after conception occurs, all beings start off female until we reach certain developmental markers and the trusty Y chromosome kicks in! Hooray!

 Approximately 25-55 years later (many social workers are embarking on a second career after all), this apparent disparity rears its head again.  A man walks into the GCSW, having essentially forgotten how daunting it was to be a lowly sperm trying to invade the vast bulk of an ovum – on its own home turf nonetheless! – and is immediately surrounded by hordes of women! 

 Statistically, this blog will not be particularly surprising to future generations.  Since the mid-90’s, women have outnumbered men in terms of aggregate college graduates and those numbers continue to increase.  2010 was the first year that more PhD’s were awarded to women than men, and this disparity is also the new norm in most professional programs like Law as well.  Very soon, men will go back to what they do best, telling stories about the things they almost caught while fishing.

On a practical level, there are advantages to being a man in the GCSW.  For any of you who aren’t married or seriously dating, you will certainly have a large pool of educated, passionate, and – best of all – forgiving women to try to woo.  For those of us who are playing for the other team, not so much.  However, I can report that I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the ladies of the GCSW.  I have been consistently impressed with the dedication and scholarship evinced by women of all ages, political persuasions, religious backgrounds, ethnic origin etc…

There is a very different energy when most of the people in a building are women.  I actually don’t know that I can really put my finger on it, but I do like it.  I feel very lucky that I am in a profession with so many capable people who don’t need to act like a silverback gorilla to make their points.  It is a special thing to interact with empowered women on a daily basis, and I look forward to more people in this country having that opportunity.


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