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For gender equality, we need more male secretaries, like Obama's Jeremy Bernard

Jeremy Bernard is the new White House social secretary – the first male to ever hold the position, and a signpost in the fight for gender equality. We need to tackle not just the stereotypes restricting women, but men as well. Excluding men from nurturing roles in our society is bad for all of us.

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The White House just hired a new social secretary, and for the first time since the position was created, the position was given to a man – Jeremy Bernard. While there have certainly been qualified male candidates for the post in past years, many mused whether any would take the job, given its history as a woman’s post. The White House Social Secretary is just one position, and a high-powered and glamorous one at that. But these musings represent a new front in the fight for gender equality.

Yes, today women can be CEOs, scientists, and senators. But if a man won’t take a job just because it has traditionally been done by a woman, we still have a long way to go.

IN PICTURES: Inside President Obama's White House

Consider nursing. While women have made great inroads in medicine, from nearly no presence in medical schools in the 1950s to roughly even enrollment today, nursing has remained a primarily female role. Despite efforts to recruit male students at many nursing schools, the Department of Labor estimates that only about 6 percent of nurses in the United States are male. Yet this is a good profession! Men are missing out on a stable, moderately well paying job that is always in demand. Furthermore, the lack of male enrollment contributes to a nationwide nursing shortage expected to intensify in the coming years as the baby boomers continue to age.


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