It’s no secret that there are plenty of fantastic female funeral directors.
Though funeral service in the U.S. has traditionally been a male-dominated profession, those days have long since been over. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, more than 60% of today’s mortuary science students in the United States are women — in 1970, that number was closer to 5%.
On top of that, female membership in NFDA has grown from 9.7% in 2004 to around 17% now.
This growth of women in the profession isn’t due to women suddenly gaining useful skills for funeral directing — women have been caring for the dead for centuries. In fact, women in ancient Greece were in charge of bathing, anointing, dressing, and caring for the dead.
No, this growth is due mainly because of recent strides toward gender equality in America. And since August 26 is Women’s Equality Day, we’d like to honor women in the profession by highlighting what makes them so great at what they do:
- Women tend to have great communication skills, which allow them to discern what their client families want for their loved ones.
- Women are very compassionate and empathetic and can help talk families through one of the most difficult times in their lives.
- Many women entering the funeral service profession later in life have held previous positions in social work, counseling, and event planning, which gives them a unique and useful set of skills.
- Women typically are the ones who plan their loved ones’ funerals, so having another woman to talk to can feel more comfortable.
- Many women are very detail-oriented, which is a great skill to have when every detail has to be perfect for client families.
- Women are typically very organized and have great memories, which is a great strength to have in a funeral home where there is always something going on and one day is never the same as the next.
It’s clear that women have an overwhelmingly positive impact on the funeral profession and will continue to do so for many years, and that’s all thanks to more equality in America.
Equality benefits more than just American women — having female funeral directors working along with their male counterparts gives funeral homes a great mix of skills and perspectives that help them better serve their families.
What are you doing to support equality today?
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