Thanks to the worst recession since the Great Depression, and the lingering recovery, the "American dream" has shifted. No longer does the average American pray for the perfect job and a line of luxury cars in the driveway. They long for something more basic - a home, some type of employment and enough money to satisfy some of their extra needs.

That could be a major reason for an increasing trend over the past few years; more and more men are entering workfields typically dominated by women.


"I think the overriding reason is that some traditional male-dominated occupations have been in steady decline," said James Hughes, Dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. "For example, manufacturing employment peaked more than two decades ago and has been eroding ever since."

The manufacturing field was hit particularly hard during the recession.

At the same time, other recessionary measures have hit male-dominated fields like construction. Many of the building trades have unemployment rates at the 30-40 percent level.

"In order to survive, in order to secure some type of income, these other occupations that were formally dominated by women look pretty good," Hughes said about men.

Men have been taking up employment in fields such as nursing and teaching, but Hughes said this should not be seen as a threat to women. Female growth has been seen in the same fields.

Hughes added, "It's generally positive if you're bringing talent into a field. I think everybody benefits from that."

More women than men make up the majority of those in college and earning degrees. For that reason, females have traditionally entered jobs and fields that are easier to hold on to and more likely to grow. At the same time, Hughes said, women are starting to move into fields traditionally dominated by men.

"We're seeing a blending of opportunities," he explained.

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