Young men have successfully lobbied for a larger slice of what has traditionally been a stronghold of ‘sisters’ — nursing. Brothers, as male nurses are referred to, will now be able to vie for 30 per cent of the seats in Maharashtra’s nursing colleges, up from the earlier 10 per cent.
“At our previous general body meeting, we increased the quota for male nurses to 30 per cent in the GNM (general nursing and midwifery) course because of the demand from males,” said Maharashtra Nursing Council president Dr Ramling Mali. Nursing has witnessed a growing popularity among men, often on account of the high pay and opportunity to migrate to the West.
Some term the quota a result of gender discrimination, arguing that men and women must enjoy equal opportunities. In fact, many nursing colleges declare themselves as “all-girl” institutes to duck charges of gender bias. On the other hand are states like West Bengal that don’t entertain male nursing aspirants. Similarly, several hospitals are yet to open their doors to brothers.
In 2009, the Madras high court had upheld the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to bar male candidates from a diploma course in nursing on the grounds that the syllabus had been changed to include midwifery, and government hospitals had enough “male nurses” to serve them till 2045.
However, in Karnataka, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, said Dileep Kumar, president of the Indian Nursing Council, men had been allowed to enter the nursing education stream.