Are Men Losing Their Edge? A Reversal of Roles

July 21, 2010

A recent story in the Atlantic magazine, The End of Men, explores gender issues in the 21st century. Women now make up the majority of the workforce, and women outnumber men 3 to 2 in getting a college degree. Is postindustrial society more suited to women?

A recent story in The Atlantic Magazine, The End of Men, explores gender issues in the 21st century. Women now make up the majority of the workforce, and women outnumber men 3 to 2 in getting a college degree. Is postindustrial society more suited to women?

In the current economic climate, male dominated industries-construction, manufacturing, and finance-have been hardest hit. Thinking and communication rather than physical strength and stamina are becoming the new keys to financial success. Of the 15 job categories projected to grow over the next decade, only 2 are male dominated: janitor and computer engineer. Women are also making inroads into leadership roles.

According to psychologists Alice Eagly and Linda Carli, men are naturally more aggressive and competitive, which was previously thought to be what was needed to be a success. Research findings, however, indicate that women and men are equally assertive and competitive, the only difference is that men are more apt to be assertive in a controlling manner while women take into account the rights of others. An analysis of 1500 US companies showed that firms that had women in top management positions fared better than those that did not, especially when the prevailing culture embraced creativity and collaboration.

But, don't write men off just yet. As Nicholas Kristoff point out in his essay, “Odds are that we men will find a way to hold our own, with the help of women. And we’ll benefit as smart and talented women belatedly have the opportunity to deploy their skills on behalf of all of humanity - including those of us with Y chromosomes.”

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