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Women Making a Name For Themselves in Funeral Industry

It's A World of Laughter A World of Tears

The general image of people — men and women — who work in the funeral industry, dealing with the dead and their surviving families, is generally a dark one. After all, don’t you need a certain brand of, um, weirdness to want to spend your waking hours preparing corpses for burial or discussing “final arrangements” with the grief-stricken? Women who work in the field want to change the public’s perception of the whole “Queen of the Dead” idea and have started up a social network for women in the funeral industry to show that theirs is just another career. Nothing to be icked out about.

The funeral industry has been male-dominated from the start, but student enrollment in mortuary studies shows that these tides are definitely changing — women have started to make up 60% to 75% of the student body. And as the industry starts putting more focus on the needs of the living during funeral planning, it is turning into more of a caretaking field, which is something that women in the industry take a lot of pride in. And that is why Funeral Divas, Inc. was created. From their site:

A Funeral Diva is a strong, confident and successful woman who works in the funeral industry. She is not ashamed of her career! She is proud to serve hurting families! She is an Embalmer, Funeral Director or Employee at a funeral home! She is a grief counselor, a casket sales woman or Mortuary Science Student! She is a woman who supports all women in Funeral Service! She simply loves her career!

Maybe it’s hard for some to view such an emotionally and spiritually charged business as just another business, but for these women, it’s really just another day at the office. And it’s yet another industry where women have yet to gain the same respect as men. Several women still face sexual harassment by their male counterparts who apparently aren’t ready to face progress.

But ignorance aside, perhaps there’s an element of women being more associated with birth and life creation — why would someone so connected to that be drawn to a career dealing with the messy end of life?

Then again, they’d probably be even more connected to that messy part of life. After all, Bill Cosby said, “I brought you into this world, I’ll take out out!” That sentiment — taken a bit less lightly — probably makes a lot of sense for women in the funeral industry!

Funeral Divas seeks to connect women in the funeral industry through special events, educational seminars, team-building, and even getaways. And what better way to create unity among professionals than gatherings where a common language is spoken? It’s always a relief to be able to talk to someone who knows exactly what you’re talking about. Because let’s face it — not everyone appreciates a good story about embalming fluid or placing cell phones in coffins. (“Did you hear the one about the ‘ash tarts’? … No, probably not …”)

But the bottom line of Funeral Divas is that they are not dark, gothic, weirdos who obsess over nihilism and don’t wear blush. Theirs is a career that deals with something others would rather not touch. Something that could be said for several careers, like teaching, medicine, accounting …

(Sociological Images)

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