Alex is a second year journalism student who loves reading, writing, and is always on the hunt for another internship.
A leading advocate for gender equality wants to see more men working in feminised industries, to ensure there is true balance in the workplace.
Australian feminist writer Eva Cox, says that while there’s been a big push to employ more women in science, technology, engineering and maths related fields (STEM), that’s only one side of the coin.
“I mean it's all very well getting women into STEM but how about we get men into childcare and nursing?” Ms Cox said.
“We should be saying we want a society where jobs done by women are given the same value, or at least being given a higher value, than they are at the moment.”
The Federal Government is currently funding the push for more young girls to study STEM subjects. The aim is to see them break into traditionally male-dominated industries. On top of this, gender quotas are being set and gender-specific university scholarships are being awarded.
Junkee editor Rae Johnston was one of the speakers at the recent #WomensWave march in Sydney. She says that by the age of six, it’s standard for girls to be of the mindset that STEM subjects are "boy subjects" - a view that ignores "the women behind Kevlar; whooping cough vaccine; windscreen wipers... " and other now commonplace inventions.
Historically, STEM has been an intimidating and disparaging environment for newcomers.
"I turn to the other women in my industry, the other women in games and tech media - I could count them on one hand," she said.
Both Ms Cox's and Ms Johnston's comments come ahead of International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11) and International Women’s Day (March 8), which this year focuses on the theme "Balance For Better".
It's a theme that's been taken up by the Hollywood animation studio, Pixar. It's just released a short film exploring how women battle sexism in a corporate environment.
Eva Cox believes another way to end occupational segregation, is to get more men into typically feminised careers. She suggests higher pay would make those jobs more desirable, and ultimately gender-neutral.
Mandy Riordan was a nurse for ten years. She says she felt undervalued because of the female-dominated nature of her occupation.
“Nurses should be flat-out paid more,” she said.
Ms Riordan recalled a time when she saw on the news that hotel cleaners were going on strike because they were only making $28 per hour.
"I just sat there watching the news and thought ‘Are you kidding me? I’ve done four years of university and I’m getting paid $26.34 an hr.’ I was enraged," she said.
Patients often mistake female doctors as nurses, and male nurses get called doctors, Ms Riordan said.
“I think because it is such a female dominated industry it’s not as valued, and the people who make these decisions don’t understand what nurses do and how hard they work.
“Society tells doctors that they are superior, that nursing is not as valued. Even though hospitals could not run without nurses.”
Nick Pepper, a second-year nursing student at the University of Notre Dame, has already experienced gender bias - even though he’s been in the industry for less than a year.
“Inside nursing there isn’t much teasing about being a guy nurse. That happens more outside nursing," he said. "You kind of get questions about your sexuality and stuff like that as well, which is annoying.
Everyone assumes I’m a nurse trying to get into med school. They can’t really accept that I’m happy being a nurse.
In 2017, the Finance and Public Administration References Committee established an inquiry into gender segregation in the workplace and its impact on women's economic equality.
The inquiry recommended that the government seek to “enhance the status of [feminised] professions” by making them “gender-neutral.”
International Women’s Day presents the opportunity to bring this kind of balance into the workforce.
Ms Cox said a lot of feminised careers, such as social work, teaching, childcare and nursing, are associated with motherhood and care, which is seen as ‘lesser’ work.
“So why don’t we get back to the idea that there is value in taking care of other people?” - @AlexTurnerCohen