Declaring "The End of Men" on your magazine cover, as the Atlantic does this month, is an attention-grabber, no doubt. Stephen Colbert tackled the topic on last night's episode of The Colbert Report, where he spoke with author Hanna Rosin. But is her bold statement true?
The very lengthy article is definitely worth reading. Rosin notes that women are earning more college degrees than men — at a rate of three to two — and more couples at fertility clinics are selecting female babies. To take a look at the evidence for and against Rosin's argument,
In many ways, Rosin makes a compelling case for the ascendance of women. A few of her more convincing points:
- Women now represent the majority of the US workforce.
- Job losses are hitting men harder: in the recession, three-quarters of the jobs lost were lost by men.
- In countries where male offspring were once favored, such as South Korea, patriarchal structures are weakening and women are gaining more legal rights.
- Women are starting to dominate middle management.
Rosin argues that females are fast becoming the dominant sex and may be better suited for the postindustrial workforce. But there are a few sticking points, including the dearth of female CEOs:
Yes, the U.S. still has a wage gap, one that can be convincingly explained—at least in part—by discrimination. Yes, women still do most of the child care. And yes, the upper reaches of society are still dominated by men. But given the power of the forces pushing at the economy, this setup feels like the last gasp of a dying age rather than the permanent establishment. Dozens of college women I interviewed for this story assumed that they very well might be the ones working while their husbands stayed at home, either looking for work or minding the children.
I do find it encouraging that more men are opting to stay at home while companies now view flex time as a good option for anyone, not just moms.
But I can't help but think that some of this is just women playing catchup after decades of discrimination. Seeing Rosin on Colbert reminds me how much men still dominate the worlds of entertainment, news, and politics, which to me says the end of men isn't so near. But perhaps gender equality finally is. What do you think?