I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Mortuary Science in 1980 — in a class of about 40 males and one female. That is just the way it was. . .there were no young women going into the business at that time. Today, the mortuary science classes at my alma mater are about 70% female.
I recently came across this article from Indiana that was about the 17th Nontraditional Employment for Women Opportunities Workshop in Syracuse, Indiana. I thought it was a great idea in that it brought high school sophomore females to an event to learn about career opportunities that had traditionally been male dominated and why those careers may be conducive for females now and in the future.
Some of the occupations listed included machine operation, optometry, environmental science, architecture, research science, meteorology, and mortuary science. In total, there was 41 women at the symposium to discuss their careers with the sophomore attendees.
According to Ronna Kawsky, director of the Warsaw Area Career Center, “The purpose of this event is to inspire young women to think they can do anything and expose them to careers they’ve never even thought of.”
Funeral Director Daily take: From having about a 2% female ratio of students in my mortuary school class to working, before retirement, in a funeral business that has about a 50% male/female ratio in the funeral directing corps has been a big move. . . . but a move in the right direction for the death care profession.
And, that is not to mention all of the pre-planning experts in the field who, it appears to me, outnumber their male counterparts at least 3 to 1 in that field.
I even know some young ladies who have struck out on their own and are now owning and operating their own funeral homes. Than never used to happen. . . but it is good for funeral service.
According to this note from the NFDA, “Today, more than 60% of mortuary science students in the Unites States are women. Many of these women have discovered and are attracted to the skills and traits needed as a funeral director, including communication skills, compassion, a desire to comfort those coping with a death, as well as organizational and event-planning skills.”
Funeral service has a general problem with not enough people going into the profession. The more we continue to let young women know the profession is no longer a male stereo-typical employment field, the faster we will solve our employment issues. The above mentioned seminar is a great way to get the word out.