The glass escalator is a new phenomenon similar to the glass ceiling, except that instead of hitting their heads as they try to rise to the top, men entering largely female dominated professions are carried past their women co-workers in winged chariots known as glass escalators.
Not surprisingly, as the job market shrinks, men are entering traditionally female-dominated professions—nursing, teaching, etc. This is great news for the professions, as far as I am concerned, and also great news for men who are willing to enter or retrain for these positions. The bad news for women is that they have to watch the men swiftly move past them for promotions and pay raises.
Old habits die hard. Though we’ve learned to respect and rely on female talent in the workforce, we still find it easier to lionize, revere, and promote men, and despite evidence to the contrary, we still find it easier to think of men as the major breadwinners.
Personally, I’d like to aim for equanimity in the workforce, based on talent and performance and not gender. But I’ll take the gain of men entering the more nurturing fields, where we definitely need a masculine presence too.