Gender Profile at Animal Shelters

You won’t find anything, anywhere on this subject! You might know better, though, If you know something please leave a comment. The question I am asking is this:

Does the gender profile of employees and volunteers at cat and animal shelters have any impact on various aspects of the running of the organization and is this something that might be investigated?

Rescue cat yawns
Rescue cat yawns – Photo by Amber Dubya
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The first question is, is there a gender bias in animal rescue generally; is the average rescue center mainly staffed by women? Or is it a 50/50 mix? Or do men manage and women volunteer? I don’t know because there is no information. The Northeast Animal Shelter has 11 staff, 10 of which are females (I have presumed that ‘Randi’ is female). It is located in Salem, USA. Is this typical?

I am not going to succumb to stereotyping. Many women have male characteristics and many men have female characteristics. That is normal. There is a large middle ground.

However, the gender profile of an organisation or type of business does usually have an impact on the way the individual business, and the whole sector, is run.

The classic and unfortunate example is the banking sector mainly managed by male humans of a macho and ambitious kind. Look at the mess they made for the rest of us.

Nursing is dominated by females because of their nurturing skills. I would expect there to be more women working at cat rescue that men. If that is true might it have an impact on the overall running of the entire business sector. And might a more balanced staff profile be beneficial?

Take banking again. If there were more women in very senior positions in the banking sector, it is highly likely that there would have been less risk taking with our money. Banking would probably have been more cautious, old-style banking. We need a return to old-style banking, it is argued.

Likewise there may be advantages to placing appropriately qualified men in certain positions in the animal welfare world where the innate skills of the male human could be employed to good effect. For example, taking bold initiatives to create a wide ranging team network of shelters to share detailed information. If this is already in place please tell me.

I am not saying that more men in animal welfare (if there is a dearth of men presently) would be beneficial. I don’t know. It may make things worse. I am simply asking the question.

Stereotypically, the male human is said to be more self-confident and rebellious than the more passive and accepting female human.

I am not going to make any proposals or arguments on this delicate subject. I’ll just ask the question, which I believe is worth asking.

There is a lot of talk in the UK and probably in the USA and other countries about, for example:

  • appointing more female judges
  • appointing more female politicians (MPs)
  • appointing more women to the boardroom.

This is a recognition of the value of striking a balance between the sexes in the work place so both can bring their skills and serve all citizens in a balanced way.

The same could be said about the cat rescue business perhaps. I recognise that in the USA women have greater access to senior positions, thankfully. Well that is the impression I have.

Can someone enlighten me on this rarely discussed subject?

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2 thoughts on “Gender Profile at Animal Shelters”

  1. On the empowered women subject. Women are making great strides in all areas of management and power. What used to be atypical is no longer valid. Women who are qualified have just as much right to a job as men do. In my college class this year most of the students want to be nurses. There are six females and two males. When I have been hospitalized there were several males nurses. Likewise, there are more and more female doctors in other areas besides OB/GYN. In fact, the new thing is minorities getting equal pay and better jobs. The women got what they deserved, equal footing. Even in the military.

    People who choose to work in shelters just happen to be women. I think the women that have been my boss were well deserving, hard working women that acted correctly and fairly at all times. However, I have met women that use their sexuality to get people to do what they want. This is wrong. If a male did that he would be charged with harassment, but when it’s a woman the men aren’t willing to report it. They like it. So it has created some problems, but that’s life I guess.

    One area where there are a 50/50 split on sexes is our Zoos. The wildlife rescue programs seem to have more men than women, but it depends upon the species, with the ones I am familiar with. Men just want different things than women. I would love to work in a shelter, but would love to work in a wildlife rescue center or a zoo even more. I love all animals, but would tend to want to work with any feline. Just how I am.

  2. Our local ASPCA shelters seem to have a bias toward women in the actual shelters. However, the Animal Control Officers have a lot more males. In fact they were featured in Animal Planet series”Animal Cops Phoenix” From there I saw most of the main shelter and a bit of the outlying shelters. I noticed in ever shelter on each of the episodes almost all of the volunteers were 12-14yr old girls.

    Interesting post.


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