The End of the Working Class Male?

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Some time in 2010, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. Most managers are now women too. And of the 15 job categories projected to show the most growth in the U.S., 12 are occupied primarily by women. Is today’s postindustrial society simply better suited to women?

That’s the question asked by author Hanna Rosin in her book “The End of Men and the Rise of Women.” The book isn’t new, it came out in 2010, but the debate around it continues to this day, and I thought I would share some of Rosin’s hypothesis.

“The U.S. economy is becoming a traveling sisterhood,” opines Rosin, who is also senior editor at The Atlantic, and wrote a cover story by the same name as the book. ”The working class, which has long defined our notions of masculinity, is slowly turning into a matriarchy, with men increasingly absent from the home and women making all the decisions.”

“The working class, which has long defined our notions of masculinity, is slowly turning into a matriarchy, with men increasingly absent from the home and women making all the decisions.”

Rosin writes that three-quarters of the eight million jobs lost in this most recent recession were lost by men, and most of those jobs aren’t coming back in the the worst-hit, heavily male industries such as construction, manufacturing, and high finance.

Here are some numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Rosin uses to further make her points:

  • Women now hold 51.4 percent of managerial and professional jobs—up from 26.1 percent in 1980.
  • Women make up 54 percent of all accountants and hold about half of all banking and insurance jobs.
  • One-third of America’s physicians are now women,
  • Women comprise 45 percent of associates in law firms.
  • Women now earn almost 60 percent of all bachelor’s degrees, 60 percent of master’s degrees, about half of all law and medical degrees, and 42 percent of all M.B.A.s.
  • In 1950, roughly one in 20 men of prime working age was not working; today that ratio is about one in five, the highest ever recorded.

“The postindustrial economy is indifferent to men’s size and strength,” writes Rosin. “The attributes that are most valuable today—social intelligence, open communication, the ability to sit still and focus—are, at a minimum, not predominantly male. In fact, the opposite may be true.”

“The attributes that are most valuable today—social intelligence, open communication, the ability to sit still and focus—are, at a minimum, not predominantly male.”

Rosin’s core observations are supported by data and the use of some broad demographic trends that have been going on in the U.S. for some time; women are making economic progress and men are experiencing economic decline. Women are becoming better educated. Women are making up a larger percentage of the professions. Women are moving into some job areas that used to be considered “men’s work.”

However, it’s a bit of a leap to go from these economic shifts – be they cyclical or permanent – to  ”the end of men.”

Earlier this year Rosin gave an interview to Der Spiegel, sort of the TIME magazine of Germany, as her book was being published in German for the first time. Since several years had passed since her book was published in this country, you could say the German interview is a post script of sorts.

Der Spiegel: You write that recent developments in the American economy have hit men harder than women, because women have reacted more flexibly to the changed demands of the job market. Can you back up that theory?

Rosin: It’s not necessarily that the rise of women is causing the end of men — it’s more the other way around. An increasing number of men are failing during their education, losing their jobs and then not managing to get back on their feet, so women have had to step in. The driving force here isn’t feminist conviction, it’s economic necessity. … That brings about the societal tensions I’ve just described: men who are the head of the family, but unemployed, and women who are the family breadwinner, but not by choice.”

source- http://staffingtalk.com/the-end-of-the-working-class-male/#sthash.4z85b9XB.dpuf

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