Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Locked out or Just Disinterested, Women Don't Turn Up as ... Doormen

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Locked out or Just Disinterested, Women Don't Turn Up as ... Doormen

Article excerpt

It's like listening to a bird-watcher claiming to have sighted a singularly rare species.

"Yeah, there was a women at the residential building on 61st Street. I saw her coming out one time," says Giuseppe "Pino" Ferrari, head doorman at Bristol Plaza on East 65th Street in Manhattan.

It was an oft-repeated refrain on several visits to New York: "I've seen one once." "Oh yeah, I heard they had a gal on 60th Street." There was even talk that the Plaza Hotel had once hired a female doorman, but calls there yielded only puzzled responses from the human-resources staff.

Indeed, each time a lead was checked out, the result was the same - men in uniforms standing outside apartment and hotel doors. In fact, most people questioned for this story were taken by surprise, never having considered that this profession is nearly exclusively male.

"Why aren't there any women? Hmm. That's a good question," says Bill Meyerson, communications director for Local 32B-32J of the Service Employees International Union in New York. The union represents 26,000 apartment workers, the vast majority of whom are doormen.

"I think, like many other areas of employment patterns, this is a job that historically has been male-dominated," Mr. Meyerson says. "It may be that it involved security functions and lifting. And the whole etiquette surrounding the job has played a role in why there are no women."

Meyerson quickly points out that his union has fought hard against discrimination and would continue to do so if someone were to encounter it.

Even the Washington-based American Hotel and Motel Association could not explain the gender disparity. "That's the way it's been," says Catherine Potter, communications director for the association.

Maybe, some labor-watchers concede, women are just not all that interested. Not that it's unlike many "facilitator" jobs they already do. …

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