In this article, we explore how the historical, stereotypical images of women as the timid, delicate caretaker shaped and continue to shape women's roles in the work force. As women entered the workplace, they became nurses, not doctors; dental hygienists, not dentists; paralegals, not lawyers; and kindergarten teachers, not university professors. This pattern persists today. We examine the professions to show how women's nurturing caretaker image has resulted in special niches within the professions, positions which perpetuate women in caretaker roles. Specifically, we examine the legal profession and probe the contemporary barricades erected to channel women into positions that fulfill and comply with the ingrained historical image that women are caregivers and their skills and abilities are best used in positions which demand such abilities. Although women are entering many professions in greater numbers, their pay and status remain below that of the men in the field. The astounding increase of women in the legal profession has not resulted in equality. In order to combat woman's ghettoization within the professions, society must recognize and reject the perpetuation of stereotyped images of women as caretakers and the resulting lack of economic power for women.
Marilyn Berger and Kari A. Robinson,
Woman's Ghetto Within the Legal Profession, 8 WIS. WOMEN'S L.J. 71