What Are the Different Types of Pink Collar Jobs?

Alex Tree

Pink collar jobs are traditionally considered women’s work, but this term and the gender stereotypes that fuel it are outdated. Child-care, beauty-related, and certain assistant jobs were once performed by only women or at least dominated by the gender in countries around the world. In addition, librarians and school teachers were also traditionally considered pink collar jobs. These social work roles were popular for women because the employer usually wanted someone charming, submissive, and well dressed. While the term has a negative background in regard to women’s rights, it is still used to refer to a number of jobs now regularly taken by all genders.

The position of receptionist has traditionally been a pink collar job.
The position of receptionist has traditionally been a pink collar job.

The child-care industry includes babysitters, nannies, and day-care workers. Traditionally in many countries, child care was primarily done by women. In some cases, men were never expected to know much about raising a family, and their wives did not consider having them babysit their own children. Equality laws in some countries now prevent men from being rejected by day-care businesses for being male.

Hairdressers are typically considered pink collar workers.
Hairdressers are typically considered pink collar workers.

Hairdressers and cosmetologists in general are pink collar workers. Their pink collar jobs range from cutting and dying hair to polishing and painting finger nails. Some cosmetologists also specialize in skin care or makeup. More and more often, men are professionally trained and welcomed into these traditionally all-female jobs.

A nanny is one pink-collar job.
A nanny is one pink-collar job.

Many types of assistant jobs were once considered female work, including receptionists, secretaries, and personal assistants. A lot of businesses preferred to have a well-groomed, polite woman trained in secretary duties greet customers instead of a man with the same qualifications. While these stereotypes are being broken every day, many misconceptions of assistant jobs remain.

School teachers and librarians are types of pink collar jobs. In the case of school teachers, pink collar referred to low-paid teaching jobs or at least jobs below higher, post-secondary education. At point one, women struggled to get jobs in colleges and universities because these jobs were considered a man’s work. In many countries, it is now very common to see women teaching in post-secondary positions.

A lot of jobs are traditionally considered female jobs, but people around the world are breaking away from the previous generation's gender stereotypes and sexism. For example, in certain countries, some churches allow women to become priests, and male hairstylists are often the norm in beauty salons. In addition to equality laws and movements, world bodies are putting pressure onto certain countries that promote gender inequality, urging them to consider the long-term consequences.

Florist is one kind of pink collar job.
Florist is one kind of pink collar job.

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Discussion Comments


@wavy58 - When I was going through college, that is how almost all my professors were. I studied forestry and while most foresters make a pretty good living, most people will never be extremely wealthy doing it. Even though the professors made a little more than a normal forester would, they still rank toward the bottom of professor salaries.

It was uncanny, though, that almost all of them were married to someone with a much higher paying job. I think two professors were married to doctors, one to a business professor, and another to a vet. I even had a female professor that was married to a lawyer.

We always thought it was humorous how the professors married women who worked in male dominated fields and were, in most cases, probably more intelligent than their husbands.


@Emilski - Thankfully, most people have the opportunity to move somewhere where they will be able to do whatever they want to do. I'm from Chicago, so it sounds like I grew up in kind of the opposite situation as you. I had a male kindergarten teacher and there was at least one or two male teachers in every other grade. I think all of them kind of had their different personalities. Sometimes the male teachers were better than the females. Sometimes not. It's just like most other things I guess.

Like the article sort of mentions, I think it is important for other countries to start allowing both women and men to pursue whatever field they think they are most suited for. Limiting jobs by sex can only hurt a country, because people aren't able to follow something they are passionate about.


Sometimes female clothing stores can benefit from hiring an attractive male salesperson. You wouldn’t expect to find a guy selling women’s clothes, but he might just be better at convincing a woman she will look good in something than a female salesperson.

I remember when I was a teenager, there was a cute guy who worked in a clothing store that I normally didn’t visit. However, it was in the mall, and I could clearly see him in there, so I decided to check it out.

I wound up buying something just to make him happy. He was very good at his pink collar job, and I think the store manager considered his looks and charm when hiring him.


@John57 - I know when I was in school, there weren't any male teachers until I got to the 5th grade, and even then, there weren't a lot of male teachers. I am thinking that location probably has a lot to do with how common pink collar jobs are.

I grew up in a fairly small, conservative town, and I have witnessed firsthand a lot of people who still do consider things like elementary teachers and hairdressers to be "women's work" as unfortunate as that might be.

The other interesting thing is that, even the male teachers I had taught the typically male dominated fields. All of the male teachers I had either taught math, physics, biology, history, or political science. Luckily, I think things are starting to change, but it will still take a while.


The veterinary clinic that I take my dogs to has reversed the typical gender roles. The vet is female, and her husband is the receptionist!

Some people are surprised to walk in and find a big, burly male behind the front desk, but he does his job well. He doesn’t wear scrubs, and I usually see him in a baseball cap and jeans, but it is their clinic, so they set the rules.

He is considerate, polite, and well-informed. He can give advice to pet owners over the phone, schedule appointments, and take payments from customers with ease.


My best friend is a hairdresser, and though two of the other hairdressers in her salon are female, she has one male hairdresser.

He started working there part-time as a shampoo boy while he was studying to get his cosmetology license. Some men acted kind of strangely toward him at first, but when they saw how easygoing and normal he was, they lightened up.

Now, he is a certified cosmetologist. He does everything from nails to perms, and he does it even better than some of the female workers. He has several regular customers that request him specifically when making appointments.


@LisaLou - It is sad to me that men are teased for being nurses. Just about every television program you see that mentions a male nurse does so in a condescending manner.

To me, making the decision to become a nurse means devoting your career to caring for others and helping them heal. That is by no means grounds for ridicule. A man should be proud that he has dedicated his life to such a worthy purpose.

A female nurse would be commended for her career path. It just isn’t fair. Male nurses are sensitive and caring, and I would much rather date a male nurse than a male lumberjack.


@LisaLou - Good point about the male nurses. My mother is a nurse, and they all like having male nurses to work with them. All of the nurses except the fact that the men and women sort of have different ways of thinking, so if they ever run into some type of a difficult situation, they will get a couple men and a couple of women together and try to figure out what the best course of action is.

Besides that, the men are able to do some of the things that the women had trouble doing like restraining someone who is not cooperating. Along the same lines, the women are able to do some things better than the men, so it all works out in the end, and everyone is happier and better off for it.


I think men are successfully taking over pink collar jobs. I have a male babysitter for my son who does a wonderful job. He's dependable, knowledgeable and very professional. I did have a few doubts when I started working with him at first but quickly found out that these doubts were groundless. He has proved to be a much better and much more responsible baby-sitter than the females I worked with before.

My hair stylist is also a male and he is one of the best hair stylists in the city and has a large group of loyal customers. I think the article is very correct that pink collar jobs' definition is changing and stereotypes are being broken. Pink collar jobs are no longer pink collar jobs!


I wonder if it can be as hard for males to adjust to pink collar jobs as it can be for females to work in typical male dominated careers?

I know many women who work in traditional male oriented jobs. Even though this is something you see more all the time, it certainly has not always been easy for them.

The men who work in pink collar jobs may also get a fair amount of teasing from other co-workers. You would hope this wouldn't be the case, but I am sure it happens.

When I was in the hospital lately, I noticed how many more male nurses there were than I had ever seen before. For so many years, you only thought of a nurse as being female.

On the flip side of that, you also see just about as many female doctors as male doctors anymore.


I have heard of blue collar jobs before, but never knew there was a reference to pink collar jobs.

It seems this stereotyping is not nearly as common as it used to be. I think it would be great to have more male teachers in the school systems. They probably would not like to refer to their job as a pink collar job though.

The sad thing is, these positions don't pay very well, and it is hard to support a family on a teacher's salary.

I know my boys always enjoyed having a male teacher. This is something you very seldom see in the elementary schools, but is more common in junior high and high school.

Both of my boys had a male teacher in 6th grade. They enjoyed having a male and were able to relate to him easily. I think having a male in the classroom can also help with discipline problems.

For some reason, many kids are less likely to act up when there is a male in the room instead of a female.


The very first job my son had was working at a daycare. This was a great part time job because he could work for a few hours after school and not have to worry about working nights and weekends.

He went on to work in several similar pink collar work situations. He even worked as a nanny one summer for a couple with 2 boys. He loves kids and is very energetic. The family was excited about having a male spending time with their boys.

He was always accepted in these positions and in most cases, it was refreshing to have a male in a place that has mostly female workers.

He learned many lessons from these jobs and experiences, and many of them have helped him be the great dad he is today.

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