You hear a lot these days about how women can’t “get ahead,” but what if, amidst all the hand wringing, women are quietly doing just that?
In her new book, “The End of Men,” (and in this article of the same name), journalist Hanna Rosin argues that we are seeing the end of male dominance in the workplace and in society in general. Her statistics on women’s advancement in the work place at all economic levels are particularly convincing:
- Women are more likely than men to gain college and advanced degrees.
- Women dominate 13 of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most over the next decade.
- Women hold 51.4 percent of managerial and professional jobs. They make up 54 percent of all accountants and hold about half of all banking and insurance jobs. About a third of America’s physicians are women, as are 45 percent of associates in law firms—and both those percentages are rising fast.
- Female CEOs, while still relatively rare, out-earned their male counterparts by an average of 43 percent in 2009, and received bigger raises.
But the story doesn’t stop at economic advancement. As women have made gains, Rosin argues, men are falling by the wayside and in some cases getting kicked to the curb. She profiles a frustrated “support group” for working class men struggling to understand their new role in a world where women have taken over as the primary wage earners. She also takes a look at college admissions, where even elite universities struggle to maintain an “appropriate gender balance” – not needing to boost the ranks of qualified women but of qualified men. And modern American pop culture tends to reflect an image of men as either happily un-ambitious or hopelessly incompetent:
“This often-unemployed, romantically challenged loser can show up as a perpetual adolescent (in Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up or The 40-Year-Old Virgin), or a charmless misanthrope (in Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg), or a happy couch potato (in a Bud Light commercial). He can be sweet, bitter, nostalgic, or cynical, but he cannot figure out how to be a man. “We call each other ‘man,’” says Ben Stiller’s character in Greenberg, “but it’s a joke. It’s like imitating other people.”
Overall, Rosin’s perspective is very optimistic about the future of women in the work place, but paints a pretty dismal picture of the trajectory of men. That’s a serious problem for women hoping to get married some day, or for that matter, any woman hoping to see her sons or brothers or friends become confident, capable and well-respected men.
To my dismay, it seemed that many of the women (young women especially) whom Rosin interviewed for her article seemed eager not just to advance women, but to denigrate men. As the wife of a good man and mother of both boys and girls, I want the best for my husband and sons, as well as my daughters. I don’t want them to think of each other or their peers as someone they need to put down in order to succeed. Women can get to the top without stepping on men to get there.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if smart men and women felt empowered to use the gifts that God has given them and leverage them “to the max” in the marketplace? If that happened and changed our culture and marketplace, we would have capable women and men in leadership positions focused on serving those in their workplace from a Kingdom perspective.
Women don’t need “the end of men.” What we need is to see the best of men and the best of women working together and spurring each other on.