Role of Women in Nursing (Part 02)
III. Role of women in nursing:
In the history, women’s role used to provide nursing care to their families and now also society thinks that women are to care their family only. As the social perception of women’s status is low, nursing being only female occupation is taken as low status in the South Asian countries like Nepal and India and it is still perceived as the profession for low class family. When the status of women increases, female profession will also be taken as a high rank. Florence Nightingale (high class family) acted as a role model for female nursing by caring many people in the Crimean war. Then the entrance of more people occurred in this profession. Similarly after the enrollment of one of the Nepali princess in nursing, the profession’s status started to improve.
95% of nurses around the world are women (K, ND). Low employment rate of women in nursing shows that there are either few seats for nursing and there is very less production of nurses, or nursing is not valued well. Women do the caring and cleaning the wounds, patients’ body and different other procedures which are taken as dirty work in the society (Hadley, B.M. et al, 2007). Many religions do not allow women to touch the bodies of man and other people of lower caste, so these all factors are degrading the profession. Working in the night shift is also considered bad for the female nurses in the Hindu culture. Similarly education status of women in nursing is low, for example there are many basic diploma level nurses and so they do not have more knowledge in many things/procedures for which doctors and other professionals can dominate them.
There is no autonomy for nurses which also changes in the view of society for nursing status. Lack of empowerment in work and role in family can bring depression within the nurses. Male dominance from the male nurses, social class and also the employment issues were the biggest issues for the female nurses in Nepal. (Ogilvie, 1998) Similarly, married female nurses can not go away from the family, even if she wants to go for her personal and professional development as there is no autonomy. They are rarely seen in administrative role and so making decisions for their own rights is also hindered. Many policies are not made in favor of women or for the development of the profession, which could bring changes.
Status of nursing in India from the perception of a professor Dr. Singh shares that male dominating society has made the status of women poorer than the men, which could be due to poverty and conservative tradition. According to her, youths do not prefer to take nursing as their ambition. She also mentions that in south India, many Christians have influence to become a nurse, but if we observe the family, people do not want to take nurses as their wife even now. (Singh, 2009 & Nair, S.).
Hence it is difficult to separate nursing as a profession and status of women in the society when nursing is mostly for female. It is also difficult for nursing to regulate itself as an independent profession in the condition where women are getting very poor services.
I am Roshani Kandel, originally from Kathmandu Nepal and recently doing MPH after finishing BSC Nursing from Dhaka, Bangladesh. I have done my A-level from Delhi, India. I have done a research on 'Experiences and Preferences of SCU nurses of SCU in ICDDR,B' during my internship of BSc Nursing. I had already presented a defense presentation on that topic as well. So I am keen intrested to publish this in standard journal. I will be doing thesis in my masters of Public health too. Thanks.View all articles by Roshani Kandel
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Role of Women in Nursing (Part 02)