Negotiating masculinities at the expense of health: A qualitative study on men working in long-term care in the Netherlands, from an intersectional perspective

Martine van Wees, Saskia E. Duijs, Casper Mazurel, Tineke A. Abma, Petra Verdonk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


While some areas of care work show increased recruitment of men, the care-gap remains, especially in low paid occupations. Questions arise how masculinities play a part in this, and if caring masculinities obscure gender inequities while at the same time perpetuating them. This qualitative study focusses the negotiation of hegemonic and caring masculinities of men working in residential long-term care in the Netherlands, and its consequences for health. Semi-structured interviews (N?=?16) were analyzed thematically, drawing upon gender and intersectionality theory to understand inequities between respondents. Findings describe how men move through long-term care. On entry, men negotiated hegemonic and caring masculinities to gain access, with black men having to work harder. Once inside, men experienced status-loss and performed hegemonic masculinity, materializing in financial and sexual rewards, especially for white heterosexual men. In time, this performance of hegemonic masculinity backlashed with respect to their own health; herein racialized and homosexual men were hit harder. Consequently, all the men in this study aspired to move out or up from low-paid care work, with white heterosexual men doing so more successfully. Our study illustrates the importance of an intersectional perspective on caring masculinities at work, showing how caring masculinities perpetuate male privilege for some men more than for others, creating health and labor market inequities among men. In terms of health, this study shows that gender, racism and sexual discrimination need be on the occupational health agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Early online date2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • caring masculinity
  • health
  • hegemonic masculinity
  • intersectionality
  • long-term care

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