Female Funeral Directors

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Female Funeral Directors

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Female Funeral Directors

Latisha HensleyEnglish 2010Lara Asplund

Undertaker Louise Ryan. Photograph: Andrew Lloyd/WALES NEWS SERVICE



In the mid 1800’s caring for the dead was originally viewed as a woman's role and usually took place in the home

Women were once called “Shrouding women” and were expected to collect the remains and prepare them for burialMen at that time were responsible for building the coffin and digging the grave

The Civil War was the turning point in the funeral industry, moving towards a male dominated field

Embalming started to be more acceptable because families wanted their loved ones to be returned home

Men started to prepare the remains for burial and later found that funerary services could be commercialized

Women were pushed out of the field due to the business side of things

Women became disallowed from being a part of the business; this was now a man’s job



Over the years the percentage of female students has surpassed the number of male students

Today more and more women are attending school to become funeral directors

The number of female funeral directors has increased

by 38


between 1974 and 2010

The number of female funeral directors to date has not been

accumulated, yet

Even though the number of woman has been increasing over the years, this field is still predominately dominated by


“It wasn’t until 2000 that the number of women equaled the number of men graduating from the U.S. mortuary Schools.” (Funeral Divas)


Comparison between female and male students attending school


More Facts

Family owned funeral services is a tradition that has been passed onto the men for many years It wasn’t until the mid to late 1900’s that women became more visible in the funerary business

Since then, more women have attended school and graduated

Women have taken on the tradition of family-owned companies (to keep their family businesses alive)

Some women in this field have no family ties to a family business

More and more women are interested in this business and are finding jobs were they can because they want to help people

As of 2010, the number of female funeral directors was 43% and male funeral directors was 57%, women seem to be closing in on the last 7% toward equal division of gender within the field, but again recent numbers haven’t been tallied nationally


Progression of Female Funeral Directors



5 States were researched to find the total number of registered funeral homes today:Utah, North Dakota, Washington, Texas, and New Jersey The research was done using the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) and the individual states’ Funeral Directors Associations

Total number of registered funeral homes for each state was added to the individual states’ FDA

The 5 states were picked from different territories of the U.S. to show the difference in sectors of the country

The East coast is about even in terms of the number of funeral homes

The West coast and Midwest, like the East coast, is about even in terms of the number of funeral homes


States from different territories Compared

Utah – Home State

Where all research started

North Dakota – Midwest

Washington – West coast

Texas – Southern

New Jersey – East coast



5 States were researched to find the number of female funeral directors today:Utah, North Dakota, Washington, Texas, and New Jersey

The research was done using the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) and the individual states’ Funeral Directors



to find female funeral directors was only collected from the funeral homes that were registered with the NFDA and




All other funeral homes without a website were considered “unknowns” and no data report could be drawn

The numbers of male


directors nationally is

only an estimate at this point


Funeral Directors to Date

Registered Female Directors:

Utah: 5

North Dakota: 9

Washington: 15

Texas: 74

New Jersey: 116

Estimated Registered Male Directors:

Utah: 96

North Dakota: 128

Washington: 170

Texas: 346

New Jersey: 638



Rotondaro, V. (2011, March 25). Women funeral directors: starting to dominate the death care industry. Retrieved March 3, 2014, from



Media Design (



Funeral Homes | Utah Funeral Directors Association

. Retrieved February 17, 2014, from




Funeral Services (CFS) (2014). 

North Dakota Funeral Directors Association

. Retrieved February 27, 2014, from




Professional (2013). 

Find A Funeral Home - Listed by City

. Retrieved February 28, 2014, from




Professional (2013). 

Funeral Homes

. Retrieved February 28, 2014, from




Jersey State Funeral Directors Association (2014). 

NJSFDA > Professional Home > About NJSFDA > Member Directory > Find a Funeral Home

. Retrieved February 29, 2014, from



Wales News Service (2013, July 3). The Changing Face of The Funeral Profession [Photograph]. Retrieved from




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