At Feministing, Courtney responds as follows:
But we must not lose sight of the fact that caretaking, teaching, and wellness roles have been traditionally both imposed and embraced by women. Sometimes women have authentically been drawn to these fields; I certainly have female friends who love teaching, social work, and other caretaking professions. But some have been pressured into these professions along with traditional gender roles....
So, yes Albelda, let's pressure Obama to create lots of jobs in the educational and healthcare fields, but let's ask that his team do it, not because traditionally gendered jobs will continue perpetually to fall into "dude jobs" and "lady jobs," but because caretaking is valued as much as construction. And further, let's continue to support efforts like Men Teach and Non Traditional Employment for Women, that encourage both men and women to break out of traditional gender roles and follow their true calling.
I really only want to disagree with Courtney about three words. More specifically, her use of `but' in the last sentence of the first paragraph, and twice in the first sentence of the second paragraph. Using `but' in the way she does here, she suggests a dichotomy between (a) creating jobs in female-dominated fields as well as male-dominated fields in order to create jobs for both men and women, and (b) recognising that those gender disparities are unjust and therefore should be challenged.
But there's no dichotomy here. (a) is a short-term project, especially when we're talking about an economic stimulus plan with a horizon of about five years, while (b) is a very long-term project. (a) is exactly the sort of thing we want a progressive-minded welfare liberal/Keynsian state to be doing, while (b) is probably best accomplished by the sort of non-government insurgency groups Courtney names. Neither the plans themselves, nor their justifications, are in the least bit competitive. Indeed, I would claim that the two are mutually supporting: It's precisely because of the injustices associated with these gender disparities that pouring money into male-dominated fields, to the neglect of female-dominated fields, will benefit women less than pouring money into female-dominated fields as well. The barriers that prevent women from pursuing careers in construction, for example, are why it's important to create job opportunities for them in fields like education and health care, in the short term, even as we work to tear down these barriers in the long term.