All this talk about professional cleaners got me to thinking about the distinction between janitors and maids. Janitors tend to be men, while maids tend to be women. According to the United States' Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up 30.3% of janitors and building cleaners, while they make up 88.6% of maids and housekeeping cleaners. Why? What is the key difference that makes one more male-dominated and one more female-dominated?
Let's start with the job descriptions. The job description for janitors in the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that "[j]anitors and building cleaners keep many types of buildings clean, orderly, and in good condition," while the job description for maids indicates that "[m]aids and housekeeping cleaners do general cleaning tasks, including making beds and vacuuming halls, in private homes and commercial establishments." These sound like very similar jobs to me. Both involve cleaning buildings, although maids also work in private homes and janitors are involved in keeping buildings in good condition, as well as clean. I'm still not quite getting the critical distinction that accounts for the gender disparity.