The Rise Of Women In The Funeral Industry
During the past decade, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of women coming in to the funeral industry. And the number of lady Funeral Directors appears to be on a rapidly increasing trajectory as more women choose to enter a profession once the preserve of, dare I say, the more mature gentleman.
Lady Funeral Directors
This isn’t just a trend in the UK. Fortune magazine recently wrote an article which highlighted that more than half of mortuary science students in the USA are now women and the number is continuing to grow.
Women In Ancient Greece
Back in the days of Socrates, Plato and Alexander the Great, it was common for women to play a significant role in preparing a body for burial and this continued for centuries. In England, it was really the Victorian era which heralded a major change in the way in which a body should be handled. It was not deemed ‘proper’ for a woman to be involved in touching the body of a man (dead or alive…). For many decades, the profession of Funeral Director was only really open to men.
The Number Of Women Funeral Directors
As the UK funeral market is not regulated by law, obtaining data on the number of women currently in the industry is nigh on impossible. (There are however many great trade associations with strict codes of practice. Robson & Stephens is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors, the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors and signed the 2020 Fair Funerals pledge.) However, before the days of COVID-19, it was great to see an increasing number of women at industry functions and gatherings. It certainly appears to be a trend which is set to stay.
And why not? The job of a Funeral Director is incredibly varied. Alongside meeting and helping new people every day, there is also a huge amount to organise. A Funeral Director may well have to liaise with healthcare professionals, church officials, florists and stone masons. The body will need to be prepared and dressed and, most importantly, family members need support at potentially the most difficult time of their lives. We are available all day, every day. It’s not a profession to enter in to lightly.
I am delighted to be one of two ladies at Robson & Stephens who are undergoing training in The British Institute of Funeral Directors (BIFD) Advanced Diploma Course. Hopefully, it shouldn’t be too long before we both become members of a not so exclusive club!