Women at the Forefront of Death Care’s Revolution
A couple of years ago, Yes! Magazine boldly declared that the future of death is feminist.
As evidence of this trend, the magazine pointed to a growing number of death doulas (more than 3,300 have been trained since 2015, most of whom are women) and the predominance of female family caretakers (making up the bulk of the 40 million people in the U.S.).
And women are at the helm of many young companies working to disrupt an industry ripe for change. Among them, online memorial site Everloved and planning sites Cake and Lantern and grief resource, Modern Grief, to name just a few. The pandemic created a “boom time” for many of these startups who banded together to collaborate on projects and network.
Before the Civil War, most people died at home, but with the introduction of embalming, the role of women faded away.
But now, from the UK, to South Korea, more women are entering the traditionally male-dominated death care field. And in the U.S., the majority (more than 70 percent) of mortuary science students are now women, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.
From Tiktok mortician Beckie-Ann Galentine to the founder of the “Order of the Good Death” collective and “death positive” movement, Caitlin Doughty, to designer and Urban Death Project founder Katrina Spade, women on the leading edge of the death business are also attracting a younger demographic.
In a male-dominated profession, Solace’s Care Team is led by two female funeral directors. Solace’s lead funeral director Malisa Riceci who has been working in death care more than 15 years says, “When I started my career, there were not as many women working in the funeral industry as there are now. I’m so glad to see things changing and proud to be a part of it. ”
Photo by Ricardo Nagaoka