‘Helping boys to grow up happy’

Sir, – Jennifer O'Connell's article (Magazine, April 10th) "How to build a modern man: helping boys to grow up happy" asserts that women can choose any career from engineer to chief executive on foot of programmes of encouragement while boys have not been encouraged into the traditional female spaces of the "caring professions".

Consulting women working on construction sites, in warehouses or employed or considering employment as mechanics, plumbers or electricians would tell a different story about acceptance and normalisation of women’s presence in traditional male enclaves.

Boys are not being encouraged into caring work (nursing, childcare, elder care) because the pay and prospects in those professions are dismal and many would not encourage girls to pursue those options for precisely the same reasons. Traditional “women’s work” holds no prestige in our society and salary levels reflect the value that our society attaches to this “women’s work”.

If we want to change the representation of men in the caring professions we need to start by valuing those roles in monetary and career terms. – Yours, etc,



Dartry, Dublin 6.

A chara, – I saw the subheadline of Jennifer O’Connell’s piece in Saturday’s Irish Times Magazine (“Helping boys grow up happy”), and thought, great, here’s another piece contributing to the castration of the male species narrative. However, I couldn’t be more wrong. It was an excellent article. Even more so as I’m a dad of two young boys. Bravo. – Yours, etc,



Co Meath.