Back in the days of Ancient Greece, it was common for women to have a significant role in caring for the deceased.
Moving on to the early 1600’s and an extension to the women’s role of running the home, women became the caretakers. The women would take care to wash, dress and groom the body, while the men in the community built the coffin and prepared the space for burial. Even after the funeral procession and burial, women continued their service by preparing a feast for guests.
It was the Victorian era which called for change in the way in which a body should be handled. It was not deemed ‘proper’ for woman to be involved in touching the body of a man. For many decades following, the profession of Funeral Director was only really open to men.
Today, woman’s roles in the funeral industry have changed as more women enter the funeral profession and reclaim their place in caring for the deceased. No one can deny the rise of women coming into the funeral industry and it is not uncommon to find funeral homes owned, managed, and staffed by female funeral directors. Though women still face challenges in the male dominated world, they continue to be at the forefront of the green burial movement and all female funeral directors want to ensure every funeral is personalised to the individual and their family.
Historically, women have had a very hands-on role in caring for the deceased. Traditional female roles include ‘shrouders’ ‘layer outers’ and midwives, these women were the historical counterparts to today’s hospice and palliative care workers and now funeral directors.
In the last few years, especially after covid there has been an increase in the number of female funeral directors which is not only great for women but for all the families being able to have increased choice. Here at Denise Wellington Funeral Services and G F Gubbin Funeral Directors we are extremely lucky to have Denise and Harry as our funeral directors.