In Hanna Rosin's new book "The End of Men: And the Rise of Women" she argues that women have gained a competitive advantage over men in the workplace.
There are more female employees in 12 of the 15 fastest growing industries and more women are choosing occupations that were previously monopolized by men. Women are even better educated — for every two men who graduate college, there are three female graduates.
In an interview with The Daily Ticker, Rosin says the gender ratio balance has shifted partly because of the six million manufacturing jobs lost during the recession — an industry that was heavily employed by men.
"The manufacturing sector is never going to come back exactly the way it was," she notes. "We can safely assume that era is over. What the "man-cession revealed," she says, "was deeper trends in the economy. [Trends] that allow women to adapt themselves more easily to what's going on."
The labor participation rate for men has fallen to its lowest level in 64 years. There were more men than women out of work in August and the unemployment rate for men will likely rise as male-dominated professions like financial services cut thousands of jobs this year and next.
The jobs trend may be discouraging for men but it does not necessarily mean their demise. As the U.S. moves toward a service and information technology economy, men will have to become more flexible and change their attitudes about gender-assigned roles, Rosin says.
"Would it be such a bad thing if more men decided to become teachers? You often see women moving into professions that have previously been male dominated," she says. "But you almost never see the opposite. There's no real reason men can't take those jobs. It's kind of a social restriction. It violates their sense of manhood."
There may be a larger percentage of females in the labor market but that does not necessarily correlate to higher salaries for women. In 2010 women earned on average 77.4 cents for every dollar men earned in the same full-time position according to Census data. Women are not only working more hours and collecting less pay, but they have also taken over a role more traditionally connected to men: the breadwinner.
Mothers made as much or more than their husbands in two-thirds of U.S. families in 2010. Rosin surveyed 8,000 couples about this topic for her book. A small number of men said they were happy that their wives earned higher salaries and therefore shared the pressure of supporting a family. But the majority still believed that men should hold the breadwinner title.
Rosin says this new economic reality has deeply affected how men and women approach marriage and has forever transformed the conventional concept of the "American family."
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