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Women Rising

Hanna Rosin says men are on their way down, and women are rising. Stephanie Coontz says it’s not that simple. They join us.

Photo illustration. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Photo illustration. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

It’s been a tough patch for men, an empowering patch for women.  Men lost jobs like crazy in the Great Recession.  Construction.  Finance.  And they lost something more – confidence, status – as the economy changed and the bread-winner role got so shaky.

Meanwhile, women – with a flexibility often born of necessity – have been stepping up.  In school.  In the workplace.  At home.  Hanna Rosin calls it the end of men and the rise of women.  Emerging matriarchy.  A big, big deal.  Stephanie Coontz says, not so fast.

This hour, On Point:  women debating the end of men.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Hanna Rosin, senior editor at The Atlantic. You can find her article “The End of Men” in The Atlantic here. The article was turned into a new book, The End of Men and the Rise of Women. You can find an excerpt of the book here.

Stephanie Coontz, teaches history and family studies at The Evergreen State College and the co-chair and director of Public Education at the Council on Contemporary Families. You can read her New York Times op-ed here. You can read Rosin’s response to the Coontz op-ed here.

C-Segment: Presidential Debate Preview

James Fallows, national correspondent for The Atlantic. You can find his debate preview article here.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “Human history? Global economy? Her evidence for women the globe over consists of thin, small facts cherry-picked to support outsize claims. We read, for example, that “women in poor parts of India” are rushing ahead of their male counterparts to learn English so that they can man call centers. But will this impressive display of initiative really liberate them? And even if it did, are we to deduce a country from a call center?”

Washington Post “The phrase is so insulting to men — “he’s just another mouth to feed” — but I heard it so many times in subsequent times in reporting. Over the phone with Calvin, I was in this “Can this marriage be saved?” mode until the light bulb goes off — I realized that he was not going to his place at the seat of the table. She was going to be the provider and protector of the child. If he was going to go back, it wasn’t to be in the old traditional way.”

Daily Beast “I’m a happy and satisfied stay-at-home dad. So why did Hannah Rosin turn my story upside down for her bestselling polemic? Andy Hinds calls the author and asks her.”

The Guardian “It started as a story I was writing for the Atlantic magazine. I was following a small group of men through the recession and there was this one particular guy who was out of work and had split from his girlfriend. In my mind, I kept trying to get them back together and get him back to the place where he used to be in his life. Then one day I realised that he wasn’t going back to that place because there was no place to go back to. His ex-partner had taken over most of the roles that he used to play. That was when it first occurred to me that something very fundamental had changed.”

Playlist

Independent Woman by Destiny’s Child

Miss Independent by Ne-Yo

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  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    _Will it be lonely at the top for women or will they leave the men lonely at the bottom ?
    _I do wonder, though, when they are on their death bed, will they be wishing that they spent more time at the office ?
    _There is one positive effect of women in power.
    When they call you in to give you that “chewing” you deserve, you’ll be graced by a better smell than the old man !
    _ I do believe my “male” must be showing, time to zip it up, in more ways than one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leonard.bast.90 Leonard Bast

    Wasn’t the whole point of the women’s movement to ensure that women had equal rights and equal opportunities relative to men, equality being the operative concept? If we end up with a world in which the inequality has simply been reversed, with those formerly on the bottom now lording it over those formerly on the top, then we’ve made absolutely no progress at all. 

    • Yar

      Look at the map below,http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c2/Equal_Rights_Amendment_Map.svg/800px-Equal_Rights_Amendment_Map.svg.png

      It is a map of states that ratified the Equal Right Amendment, Pink represents ratified states. Yellow shows states that rescinded earlier ratification, blue states never ratified the amendment.
      Green only Ratified in 1 house of the state’s legislature.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_Rights_Amendment

      • http://www.facebook.com/leonard.bast.90 Leonard Bast

        Your response seems disconnected to my comment. Perhaps if I restate it, it will be more easily understood: replacing one form of inequality with another form of inequality benefits no one.

        • Don_B1

          Technically, the change benefits those who gain the upper hand, but certainly the whole of society does not gain unless the new wielders of unequal power are less likely to suppress others.

  • Ed75

    What does women rising mean? Rising to what exactly? Equal opportunity is a good thing, of course. I guess it means fuller participation in all aspects of society.

    • Yar

      Fear not, for this is good news; Women don’t desire to treat men like men have treated women. Is it fear of justice that lingers in the back of oppressors’ minds?  

      • http://www.facebook.com/leonard.bast.90 Leonard Bast

        If justice to you means supporting inequality in any form, men over women or women over men or any other form it may take, then yes, I fear justice.

  • Gregg Smith

    Men and women are different, their union creates something greater than the sum of their individual spirits. It’s a beautiful thing, it’s not a competition.

    • Yar

      Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t, we don’t know what it is like to be someone else.  The best marriages viewed from the outside may be a totally different story from the view of a spouse. 

    • SomeGuyNamedMark

      Funny how we get conflicting messages on how diversity is good and woman and men are different in how they think and act, yet then we are told everyone is the same and woman should be like men and should be treated as such.

      • Don_B1

        Women do bring something to the workplace that benefits the company and men do not bring. Some call this the modifier to the “testosterone factor.”

        An example is in the high levels of stock brokerage companies: those with women at high levels did not take as many high risk positions and end up doing better; those that did take the higher risks did have some big “winners,” but also had quite a few more big losses which resulted in overall poorer performance.

        Clearly, some women are just as aggressive as the most aggressive men, but on average women appear to be more level-headed. That does not mean that that is the only skill that women bring to the workplace; it is just one that would seem to benefit the whole country when they work in the financial industry which seems to want to have the power to do things which if not carefully considered can bring disaster to billions of people around the world.

        • Bill98

          “An example is in the high levels of stock brokerage companies: those with women at high levels did not take as many high risk positions and end up doing better”

          This is true, Don, but they only “end up doing better” in difficult times, such as these.  In better markets, those same conservative companies do much worse than their more aggressive counterparts.  It will be interesting to see if, in the next bull market, these managers become more aggressive, or if they are replaced by their stakeholders.

  • donny_t

    I would agree with the article because in my own experience, I’ve seen women take on more responsibility at a younger age whether it’s home chores, looking after siblings, or even working to support their parents. In poorer countries, you hardly ever hear of boys going out and getting jobs to help the family. I think this is due in part because women are more empathetic because women were the childbearers and rearers. At the same time I’ve seen neotony growing in young boys due in part to the huge video game industry. lol

    • Don_B1

      I don’t know what exposure to foreign cultures you have, but hearing how young boys of poor immigrant parents go out to earn money, resulting in poor school performance or dropping out of school in the U.S. is not rare. So I suspect it is not rare in the countries of their parents.

      Now the parents’ immigrating here implies there is a bit more adventurism in them, which could transfer to their children, than in the average parents in the “old country,” there are circumstances where some would feel more free to emigrate than others.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QMDZ3LH5U2B4GAT7J2HS4TCP6E Jim

    I notice the trend. but i slightly disagree. My wife is quite a hard worker in her professional work. However, she does not have the energy or will to help out with the house. I, on the other hand, work full time like her and come home to prepare dinner, take care of my child, wash the dishes, and get ready for the next day. this topic is quite subjective.

    Look, many of the manufacturing jobs which are dominated by men started to disappear after 2008. the men population is slow to adapt to this reality. I do see many men today entering industries which were predominantly women in the past.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark

      Sadly some female dominated fields, like grade school teaching, are hostile to male applicants because society has been brainwashed into thinking all men are on the verge of being child molesters.

  • Emily Antul

    What bothers me as a married, pregnant (for the first time, finally, after putting it off for nearly 12 while years searching for stable employment– what a joke!), is that I have NO CHOICE but to keep working. My husband cannot support both of us on his salary, let alone both of us plus a baby. I’m back in school for nursing since teaching is a dead end and trying to figure out how to get through Anatomy and Physiology and Microbiology plus perhaps one more class next semester, even though I’m due in March, halfway through the semester. Again, I have no choice. If I did, I’d take a civilized year off to give my child a healthy start. If I had a REAL choice, I’d take 5 years off so my kid actually got everything I got with a stay at home mother.

    It’s simply not fair that we don’t have choices anymore. Jobs do not pay enough. We have too many people in the workforce. We need 40% or so staying home (whether men or women, does not matter!) to help raise our kids, who are getting left behind in so many ways.

    • Don_B1

      Please see:

      http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/labor/report/2012/09/27/39331/social-security-cares/

      Don’t expect Republicans (and, unfortunately, some Democrats) to drive this agenda forward, but it will be the Democratic Party that achieves this.

      This is one reason why Republicans need to be roundly defeated both this year and each election until they come out of their fantasy world of “freedom,” which means the freedom (of the wealthy) to exploit and suppress the desires of anyone not wealthy already.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I don’t watch sitcoms.  Why?  Everyone in them is an idiot.

  • Shag_Wevera

    One word in the show’s description caught my attention.  “FLEXIBILITY”.  This is a buzzword for part time work with zero or crappy benefits.

    • Don_B1

      Exactly! But unless the workplace is changed this will be a requirement that many men are not prepared for, at least not in the past.

      Right now many (young) men are unemployed because there just are not the jobs. Taking part-time jobs in this environment is necessary but is not career enhancing.

      The refusal of Congress to pass additional job-creating legislation, even to maintain and build desperately needed infrastructure that would create more jobs, borders on the criminal. The damage to people unable to find work for no fault of their own is life-long when it extends more than six months or so. Note that it is the Republicans who are totally out to keep the economy from recovery since that would guarantee Obama’s reelection.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Hannah Rosen, you do know the difference between reality and fiction, no?

  • AC

    the world? or the US?

  • AC

    maybe it’s because we are paid less….

    • SomeGuyNamedMark

       Everyone is getting paid less

      • Don_B1

        Unless they are in the 1% of the income scale; between 2009 and 2010 Saez and Piketty have shown that 93% of the growth in income with the recovery went to the 1%.

  • Christopher Conroy

    This in an absurdly silly convesation. It conjures up memories of trite pop-psychology books like John Gray’s “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.”  Come on Tom, aren’t there more important and serious subjects we should be talking about.

  • Bill98

    We are simply witnessing a world in transition.  To project this temporary state of affairs, where men decline and women ascend, indefinitely into the future is utter foolishness.  Whenever I hear someone say “if present trends continue”, I always laugh.  Present trends NEVER continue…

  • AC

    what does Ms Rosen think about the Fifty Shades book? I was thinking this hurt the cause of women….i can’t understand why women are crazy about it

    • DrewInGeorgia

      I can’t understand why anyone would read Fifty Shades, especially after struggling through a couple of radio shows dedicated to the series. But then again, I never have understood the Trash Novel Mentality that allows some to cannibalize hundreds if not thousands of these types of books during their lifetime. The GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) principle prevents me from diving into the emotional dumpster, for that I am thankful.

    • Mike_Card

      I might be off by a point or two, but it seems to me that I’ve heard–more than once–that women buy 70% of books.

    • Michele

       Why would you use 50 Shades as a societal marker?  The discussion is about social and economic parity.  What about Playboy or Penthouse?  Are men less or more successful because they do or do not read those magazines?

      • AC

        i didn’t, it popped into my head when they were talking about masculine/feminine ‘traditional’ roles. if we’re talking about this big ‘change’ why is this book STILL on the best seller lists top 10? I haven’t read it, but it seems to me the heroine is supposed to submit. But good question on the porno magazines – I don’t know any men who read them, or at least admit it, but it would be a really interesting survey…..

  • melox

    Are there other factors at play here?   This may seem far fetched but I wonder if many men are addicted to on-line games or internet porn and getting stuck.  I have not done studies, but I do have two nieces in their 20s that have had children out of wedlock.  Both nieces are working and have no plans to marry the fathers  – one is addicted to video games and can’t seem to hold down a job, the other has an issue with on-line porn.  

    My sons play hours of video games as do most of their male friends.  My daughter does not play these games and has accomplished much more.  

    • anon

      It make be a factor, but it seems like this trend started before online games were so prevalent.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I’ve noticed the same thing as the professor caller.  Broadly speaking, my women students work harder and get more involved in the discussion.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    In my view we have been a Feminized Nation for at least the past decade. It is our fault collectively for taking Political Correctness too far as well as culturally reinforcing the Super Woman scenario. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for everyone (both men and women) earning equal pay for equal work and all should have the same rights regardless of gender or race. Hanna Rosin said that she didn’t want her work to come across as a Feminist Manifesto yet she chose to title her book “The End of Men and the Rise of Women”. Interesting discussion but I am really having difficulty digesting the overall tone of the narrative. The Men Presidents who were elected with “C’s” as your guest phrased it wasn’t a result of said men being lazy, foolish, or under-motivated (though they may have been), it was a result of the populace being foolish enough to elect them.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       And of having a rich daddy who got sonny a job.

    • hennorama

      The title of Ms. Rosin’s book was likely not chosen by Ms. Rosin alone.  Her editor(s) and publisher(s) no doubt had significant input.  This title is certainly provocative, which is quite helpful in getting the attention (such as this OnPoint segment) that is critical in driving book sales.

      I doubt that an alternate title such as “Women Are Doing Better Today” would generate the same attention or sales.

    • hennorama

      The title of Ms. Rosin’s book was likely not chosen by Ms. Rosin alone.  Her editor(s) and publisher(s) no doubt had significant input.  This title is certainly provocative, which is quite helpful in getting the attention (such as this OnPoint segment) that is critical in driving book sales.

      I doubt that an alternate title such as “Women Are Doing Better Today” would generate the same attention or sales.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     I’m not sure how much we can determine from educational performance these days.  We’ve perverted our school system from kindergarten to graduate school into a factory to produce workers, rather than an environment in which to grow citizens.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The more Rosen talks, the less interested in her opinions I become.

  • TinaWrites

    There are virtually no women in the U.S. Senate and Congress. 

    (I should look up the figures, but I wanted to post this quickly)

    • Mike_Card

      You’re sounding overwrought today!  ;-)

      I’ll save you the trouble of looking up the numbers:
      House    360 Men     76 Women
      Senate     83 Men     17 Women

      Not to mention that 3 of 9 Justices of the Supreme Court are women, and you might recognize the names Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton.

      Fewer, granted–but not “virtually no…”

      Another day, I’d get into the weeds about sitting governors.

      • hennorama

        Congress is about 17% female vs. the US being about 51% female.  In other words, the pecentage of women in Congress is roughly 1/3 of their proportion of the nation.

        Not exactly something to be proud of, and pretty close to “virtually no women.”

        • Mike_Card

          Seems like that’s a different argument.  Women are a slight majority of the population, including those who vote.  Can the disparity be blamed on men??

          • TinaWrites

            I wouldn’t even guess about “blame”, but the situation does have consequences, in all likelihood. 

        • SomeGuyNamedMark

          Obviously woman are voting for the men also.

        • TinaWrites

          Oh!  I posted my reply about the 17%, and then kept reading the posts, finding yours! As you might guess, I very much agree with your assessment!  Thanks for pointing out the 1/3 figure!

      • TinaWrites

        Thanks for the statistics!  Interestingly, those  numbers indicate that 17% of those serving in BOTH the House and the Senate are women.  Apparently, in 2011, 50.8% of U.S. citizens were women.  To me, that means that there are “virtually no women in the U.S. Senate and Congress”.  But you’re right, I am overwrought today, so I’m sure that my own phrase in quotes could be expressed better!  Thanks very much! 

  • Alma Maria Rinasz

    Of course it is still a ‘man’s world’, in my opinion, because care taking (being a stay at home parent for example) isn’t socially considered a job, if it were, stay at home care takers would get economic payment (through the government or empolyer, or both).  Just like the comment read on air about maternity leave, why doesnt’t the US have mandatory PAID maternity leave for parents? My understanding is because of traditional gender roles. I would like to hear the guests discus the film Miss Representation about the portrayal of women in popular culture and media.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark

      “My understanding is because of traditional gender roles.”

      No, it is due to traditional economic cheapness in the US.

    • JacquelineMS

       Why would care taking be considered a job, “socially” or otherwise, and why would the government or employer pay for long term care taking?

      Leave from a position, either maternity or paternity, is a bit of a different discussion, but to consider care taking a job doesn’t seem appropriate.

  • ml77

    As the world becomes more competitive businesses and organizations can no longer afford to overlook competent qualified women just because they are women. If men feel like they are losing their standing, it’s just because now, slightly more so than in the past, they have to compete on a more level playing field.
    The idea that a women would have to work twice as hard to be taken half as seriously is no longer true.

  • MichaelinNashville

    Ms. Rosin says that the emphasis in our current political discussion about manufacturing jobs is basically a proxy discussion about gender roles. I would say that the emphasis is simply due to the fact that manufacturing adds economic value in ways and amounts that no other sector does, and that any effects the decline in manufacturing jobs have on gender roles are secondary to their economic importance. I also wonder if the convergence in male and female wages is due as much if not more to a relative decline in male wages than a relative increase in female wages.

  • truthteller2013

    The fact that two WOMEN are discussing the decline of MEN would imply that the decline of men is linked to the rise of women (or vice versa).  I am curious if the two speakers view the issue through a relative or absolute lense (ie, isn’t it possible for both men and women to be doing better concurrently, even if there remain relative disparities)?  I am kind of also curious how women listeners would feel about two men discussing the decline of women.  Would many of them not feel at least a little bit patronized?  

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

       Bias you say?   How about complete ignorance of the situation on the part of the host, callers, posters, and deliberately so of the guest authors?   Their lack of economic history is astounding.

      This corporate media induced feminism coincided with an inflation that turned one male provider into two spouses working overtime to support one family.  Great job gals !!

      Ultimately to the delight of the corporate/government and real estate industry, the stress of these marriages caused divorces, which required one former family to occupy two dwelling while working for less than half the former pay of their parents, in real dollars.

      We could go on and discuss conspiracies of how THEY whoever THEY may be, have deliberately emasculated the male head of house and turned family rule to the state and to single women.  Which is now the reason Wall Street, and others can get away with what they are doing.

      Regardless,  millennia of naturally evolved patriarchy cannot be turned around in 50 years by artificially induced social change.  The next serious world crisis will prove why men are the head of households.

      • Michele

         Are you being hyperbolic or completely ignorant?  The reason women genuinely pushed so hard for equality is because of the lack of opportunity that existed in the patriarchal system. 

        That women are to blame for the greed on wall street is absurd.  If men were always in control then no one would invest in questionable ventures or buy houses outside of marriage?

        Your suggestion that things cannot change in 50 years is ridiculous as they already have. 

        Moreover, that you suggest that women are not capable enough to deal with a crisis and will default to relying on the big, strong, heads-of-households (aka men) is outdated and frankly sexist.

  • TinaWrites

    I only got to hear about 5 minutes of this discussion, but I do want to ask if others got to watch any of the Half The Sky shows that have begun on PBS?  Nicholas Kristoff and his (journalist?) wife take American actresses to parts of the world devastated by poverty, lack of education, and most to their theme, various social afflictions of women.  These latter include sex trafficking and sex slavery (even three year olds are now being enslaved, altho the usual youngest age is five!!!), intergenerational prostitution (where prostitution is almost an “inherited” job for a “caste” of women; seen most in India), female genital mutilation (which has far greater medical effects on females’ abilities to have successful pregnancies; and which often causes painful adhesions over a lifetime; you know the other side effects), domestic violence, and more bitter, bitter tragedies.  The way these shows are filmed, it is just so clear that males and especially males in groups have a physical advantage over females.  The shows also show brave women, often similarly afflicted at a young age who spent years entrapped in these ways, only to escape and soon to start a school or shelter or rescue “squad”.  But the shows also show how easily these courageous efforts can go off track:  the girl biking 17 miles each way to her school can be abducted and sold as she bikes along a long, lonely roadway; the girl can go back home from school to visit her parents who decide to sell her into sexual slavery after all, etc.  I do not mean to diminish the very real feelings that American men can have when they are taken off course by our economy and wind up at home, perhaps depressed that their wives are supplying the income.  Many women in the 1960′s felt this same way, reciprocally:  they wanted a place for their sense of personal power, for their sense of their talents, to be legitimized and recognized.  But, worldwide (including places in the U.S.), the physical power of the male, as blessed as that is in most instances, in many other, dense, culturally rooted instances far overpowers females, including the very youngest, in ways that are nothing short of frightening, ignorant, and, sadly, evil.  

    Sorry that this is such a depressing post.  I do want to say that the scenes in the shows where the girls who have been rescued (for awhile anyway) are thriving are beautiful and inspiring:  we see them learning, leading, dancing and singing, meditating.  There is so much to be done in so many parts of the world (including our own!!!!) — that is, there is so much GOOD to be done; WHY do we insist on military solutions?!  I don’t know if women, on their own, would start militaries.  The fictional show about midwives in 1957 East End London showed women fist fighting as visciously as men; and mothers sell their own children into slavery so that the mothers and fathers can have the money.  So I don’t know the answer: if all heads of state were women, would they still choose military solutions, neglecting the other needs of their people, such as the need for education, for the trash to not pile up on the roadways where the people sleep, for homes for people so they don’t have to sleep in the roads, for medical care, for care for the elderly, especially those who can no longer work, etc.?  And, would the males oust them if they didn’t keep up the military? Our military is co-ed now.  Many who sign up want to serve their country.  Is the military the ONLY way to serve the country?  I don’t think so.  Why can’t there be a teaching corps and a medical corps, and public works corps, a computer education corps, a science education corps, etc.  They could serve as the apprenticeships for real jobs later (and would HAVE to, or we would undo good sources of good jobs — but those kinds of issues could be thought thru thoroughly).  There is SO MUCH GOOD WORK THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE.  With computers, can’t we all communicate various plans for this and implement them  worldwide?  

    • anon

      TinaWrites, you have some interesting thoughts there, but I just wanted to note that there have been quite a few women heads of state (not in the US, of course), and they were not very different from the men. Think Margaret Thatcher of the UK, Golda Meir of Israel, Indira Gandhi of India, Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, women who were the Prime Ministers of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia, Turkey, etc… And there are some male leaders who do care for their people instead of being so militaristic. So I don’t think gender is the main factor.

      • TinaWrites

        Oh, I absolutely agree with you!  I was trying to say that I was NOT at all sure that even having every single world leader be a woman would change certain things unless they were changed in another manner (people with computers demanding it; realizing what kind of leaders they wanted; electing those leaders!).  Grammatically, there was one point in my post where I should have used the word, “yet”.  That would have made the point you make so clearly seem to have been the point that I made!  And, yes, there have been some very humanitarian male leaders.  The Half the Sky show was initiated by Nicholas Kristoff and his wife.  A king of Sweden, ruling during the early 20th century, is the ruler who said that there must be a way to have government serve the people’s needs, and we know how successful that mandate has been!  
        I Thank You for this wonderful list of women leaders!  

        • TinaWrites

          Again, I’m not using the language well enough today.  This is a helpful list of women leaders:  my saying “wonderful list” makes it sound like I endorse them all as great leaders just because they are women, with no regard for their manner of leadership or concepts of governance!  

          • anon

            I understood what you meant! And since you are referring to the list, I should say that there are many more countries that have or have had women leaders, including Germany, Iceland, Chile, Liberia…

  • hennorama

    Clearly, the rise of women does not have to mean the decline of men.  This is not a zero-sum game.  We are all in society and the economy together, so the rise of one segment can and generally does benefit us all.  Correspondingly, the rise of one segment of society does not have to come at the expense of another segment.  Our society and economy are inclusionary and adaptable enough to allow us to derive benefit from the talents of ALL, and to allow us to grow the economic pie.

    Change provides opportunity.  We can and do adapt over time, and this time of transition is just that – transitory.

    • LoganEcholls

      Your big picture analysis is spot on.  In the long term, there are and will continue to be huge economic gains from the empowerment of half of our brain-trust.   The importance of educating and enriching women has been shown time and again in third world development.   And this truth holds in the economic advancement of western women as well.

      That being said, the short economic situation will nearly always be zero sum, and even worse especially in times of economic contraction.   So if women progress in the short term, the resources have to come from somewhere, since there is no free lunch where salaried positions are concerned.   Entrepeneurs and business creation are different stories, but their growth and added value takes time to be realized.

  • NOLALiz

    I used to have a positive perspective of the expanding role of women. Then I was in New Orleans for Huricane Katrina. I am a single woman with no man in the house. I realized then, that the protections that I had in law were just a veneer.
    For example:
    I had no windows and the doors did not all lock. One of the contractors who figured out that I was sleeping on the floor of my house let me know that he knew where I slept and that I should pay him a better day rate.
    Another believed that I had a lot of money from my insurance (took nearly six years to get a check from my insurance). He said he was going to kill me because he said that I was cheating him by paying $125 a day for medium skilled labor. I left town for three weeks, the house open and unlocked until he got distracted by someother woman he could victimize.
    My electrician put in the wiring in daisy-chains and wrapped around water pipes. He only worked for cash. He had a lawyer (who ran for mayor periodically) protecting him and who launched into me saying he would go after me when I tracked him down to fix the $15,000 of work.
    One guy stood outside my house and struck all these agressive male poses and gave me a bid for $1900 for some work. I went inside and asked a worker to come outside and stand with me. I said not to not say anything, just look at the man as he went over the bid. With a man next to me, the price was $900.
    It was Katrina that taught me that a woman can NEVER trust anyone to make a decision for her. There is so much gender hostility that she cannot trust anyone. If she wants anything done, she has to research the situation, listen to all sides then step up to the plate and take responsibility for her own decision and make it willfully. Not a boyfriend, not a friend, not a family member can be trusted. A woman has only herself to trust.  
    The veneer is very thin. When I tried to report the fraud of the electrician no one - the police, state attorney general nor FBI (he worked across state lines) would take the complaint. The male white electrician had a male white attorney who knew everyone. I ended up have two situations where I could not get justice.
    The veneer is very thin. I could have been attacked and probably never be able to get the men to justice. And plenty of women were victimized. Plenty had their insurance payments stolen.

    • LoganEcholls

      Sadly we are not as civilized as we’d like to think we are.  However, I hope you don’t take the demographic of “construction workers” and “lawyers” and apply that as an example of “general male behavior”.   I for one am a guy in his thirties who has been a “feminist” ever since I learned that as a child that people of different skin color or gender were treated differently by adults clinging to ludicrous historical baggage.  Before you say people like me are the exception, you should realize that I am also a direct result of a male dominated generation of the civil rights era.   There are actually alot of us guys who believe in fairness and the rule of law.  Which is why so much power in this country (as compared to say: the middle east) has been passed (albeit slowly!) over to women.  So yes, we are still barbarians, but were are more civil barbarians than we used to be!  Eventually the “veneer” may become the reality.  As it has for many men and women of my generation.

      • NOLALiz

         You may not be the exception when everything is going well. But it is a different world when society is under stress. I just don’t believe that the rights of women are protected anywhere. I think it is a temporary situation until there are more female CEOs, legislators, doctors, lawyers and other decision-makers. Then I will start to believe we can be okay. Not now, not yet.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MNER4KU6RF2KUQ3RFLM5P3KMHA Fawn

     Simply stated,  my husband and I have seen these changes reflected in our own nineteen year old son.  It is a concern among our friends who also have young sons.  These young men do not appear to have the drive to excel, in contrast with their female siblings.  My husband and I always equally support and encourage our son and daughter to be happy and do well.  Our daughter has always worked hard to be the best and our son is simply happy to be average.

    • Mike_Card

      That is an enormous leap in logic! 

  • Pointpanic

    so much of his is nonsense . Shouldn’t it be about equal work fro equal pay? exual harassment? Women all over the world are still having their civil rights violated in the name of religion by patriarchal “cultures”. shouldn’t it be about gender equality and  not who’s “rising or falling”?

  • abigail armistead

    I’m not sure I agree with the assertion that was made at the very end of the piece that women don’t want to return to their traditional roles. As a new mom to a 10 month old, I’ve hooked up with a large network of other moms through mutual friends and while we spend a lot of time sharing practical advice about child rearing, we also talk a lot about our feelings and what’s going on emotionally for us as well. We are mostly in our 30s and most are first time moms. A large majority of us are college grads and professional women. And I’d venture to say that many are staying home with their babies by choice…and that many of us that work because we have to (better pay or benefits than spouse’s job, etc.) would much rather stay at home with our children. This is definitely the trend I am seeing in my own generation. While we love working, we are having great difficulty figuring out the work life balance. And we’re missing the heck out of our babies. While I love working, I personally feel that working part time would be ideal, so that I could spend more time at home. Some part of me does in fact feel like my *place*, at least right now, is at home taking care of my son. I don’t think that makes me a throwback or anti-feminism or anything. I think it just makes me a mom. But I have to work full time, so I do. My husband is at home and the traditional roles reversed. It’s just the way it has to be for us.

    • Bill98

      I’m not surprised at your thoughts on this, Abigail.  I saw a survey recently that indicated that the happiest mothers are those that work part time (I’ll include the link if I can find the article).  It’s too bad that more parents don’t have that choice, if that is what they would prefer.

  • katherine Laff

    The problem is the language we use to frame the arguement. The idea of “power” and “status” are male terms which define a society in which the values are defined by men. The converstation has to change. Patriarchy is in our language and women are told that to be sucessful they need to adapt masculine traits. Why shouldn’t feminine traits be valued? Cooperation, compromise, care, community, family?

    • LoganEcholls

      I love this statement!  I really think that the benefit of having women leaders and and female influence leads to a more communal approach to business practices.   Contrary to being “softer” these practices (in my experience) tend to focus on realities first and egos second.   Which is the opposite of my experience in work environments that are dominated by men. 

      I currently work in an office with a male boss and the rest is all female staff with a young woman being groomed to take over the business (I am the only other male besides the current boss).  Of course some of these women appear to be concerned with power and status, but it seems that by and large the efforts are more centered on consensus, coordination and cooperation.  Egos still exist, but they are not the center piece of interactions.   Simply getting stuff done seems to drive most of the focus.   We’ve had plenty of previous men working at the office but they were too stuck in the old ways of doing business and their expectations of being dominant and/or working “solo” rather than as part of a group were detrimental to their success at our firm.

      I look forward to the day when our government has a more balanced gender population, and the cooperative approach I’ve seen in female empowered businesses can create a more functional, effective, and more socially & fiscally responsible democracy. 

      • SomeGuyNamedMark

        There are good and bad to almost everything.  I’ve found female managers tend to take problems personally and become emotionally upset and cling to this whereas the male managers may become upset but will quickly let it go.

      • Bill98

        ” I really think that the benefit of having women leaders and and female influence leads to a more communal approach to business practices”

        What an incredibly sexist, and from my experience, incorrect statement.   I have worked for, and with, many men and women in my career.  I can tell you that some of the women were consensus builders, and some were dictatorial.  The same with the men.

        The world, if run by women, would look a heck of a lot like the world, if run by men.

  • anon

    I find this interesting, because although I’m American, I’ve lived in Kuwait for the past 20 years, and we have the same phenomenon here. A friend recently reminded me that when I first came here, what I said was that in general, many of the women seemed more interested – and did better – in their work and studies than the men. The students at the public university are about 2/3 women (which is true of neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia, too). Engineering seems to be the most common major for both women and me.

    In Islam, financial support for the family is the man’s responsibility, and if a women works outside the home, her money is hers to do whats he wants with. Unfortunately, the society has changed in this past generation to the point where women are expected to work and expected to contribute financially. In the older generation, women virtually never worked outside the home; among middle-aged women, some did and some didn’t; among young women, they almost all do, and although many want to work, others don’t have a choice (as some of the commenters have written here). One difference, though, is that they have household help.

    Partly due to the separation of males and females, there aren’t the same expectations that certain fields are for a certain gender. Male nurses are normal (although there are more women nurses), as are male secretaries. Because girls and boys go to different schools, it is just as common to see men teachers as women, and there are just as many women administrators as men. It is perfectly normal to have women doctors, dentists, professors, bank officers, photographers, etc.

    Just one more thing – as the mother of boys, I know that their American curriculum is heavily slanted towards girls. Every time they start a new story in English class, they say, “I don’t even have to finish it; I already know the girl is going to win” – and they’re always right! The most absurd example was the little white girl who was teaching an African-American boy how to shoot a basketball because he just couldn’t do it – and his father was an NBA player… In their English books, girls win the races, the marble championships, everything.

    • http://twitter.com/dabal_aj عبدالله جمال الدبل

      Anon, please clarify your point about a woman’s money in Islam. You said that it’s totally hers, but he can do what he wants to do with it! I hope this was a typo..

      • anon

        Sorry, Abdullah – I had the space in the wrong place, so ‘whats he’ should have been ‘what she’. SHE can do what SHE wants with it!

  • Bill98

    I am an IT professional with 25 years of experience.  I have also taught for 15 years, and I have an MBA.  All that I can say is, Hanna, this ain’t the end of me, and I’m not going anywhere!  And, there are a lot more men just like me. 

    So, go ahead, write us off.  Proving you wrong will be just one more of our achievements. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jorge-Serrano/100000521470319 Jorge Serrano

    The problem is not that men won’t take the jobs that are now available, it’s that they’re perceived by Human Resources goons as being too expensive to hire. Please don’t make this a sexist issue. It comes from capitalist shortsightedness, a cousin to the Walmart dilemma.

    And please stop that horrible, out-of-tune music.

  • Linda Wilson

    Men are already in the traditionally female, lower paid healthcare jobs, including management positions.  I wouldn’t be surprised if those fields are predominantly male within a generation.

    The ball’s just moved down the field.  Nothing’s really changed.

  • anon

    Hannah Rosin speaks as if it’s the norm, with educated couples, that as women take on more of the traditional males roles, men are in turn taking on more of the responsibility for housework and child care. I wonder if the statistics bear that out. I know that some of the male callers/commenters said they stayed home and took care of their children, but then they would be more likely to be listening and calling in to a radio show during the day than would men who had jobs outside the home…

  • drjones2012

    I think from what I heard, I feel this book is a lesbian and anti-male point view.  I wouldn’t take the time to read the garbage. Men are not competing with women. Only women trying to compete with men, and it needs to stop. Both have different goals and roles in a family unit. It doesn’t really matter who brings home the bacon. At the end of the day,  it is about survival and peace of mind.

  • Spencer Doidge

    In a marriage or a society it’s about teamwork, always has been, always will be.  The teammates look around them, assess what is going on in the environment, and then respond appropriately. Gender roles are a modern semantic invention that obscure the simple truth: you just do what you have to do.

  • shargarepa

    x

  • shargarepa

    Testing

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  • Sy2502

    As power keeps slipping off men’s hands, I fully expect some very strong backlash against women. Nobody willingly gives up power, and many are willing to do whatever it takes to hold on to it. I truly fear an increase of violence against women, and strong sexism in response. That’s why this kind of antagonistic rhetoric is in my opinion counterproductive. The more men feel threatened, the more violently they will react.

  • Regular_Listener

    Unfortunately this is all too typical of discussions of gender in that the only men on the show were listeners calling in.  Part of the problem is that not enough men are even interested in discussing these issues, so they end up allowing smart, aggressive women define who they are in the public discourse.

    There is no doubt that Rosin and Coontz are pointing to a huge change in American society, and for the most part, the change is right.  If someone is capable of doing something, like going to college or law school, they should not be denied at least the opportunity to be considered on their merits because of gender.  But (I am a hetero man) I have observed feminism for a while and seen something develop that is very different from the promotion of fairness.  I have seen biases (most likely illegal, but very subtle, so difficult to apprehend) develop against heterosexual men in the field of education, both as students and as employees.   I have also seen hatred and bitterness towards men from women, experienced it firsthand, a lot of it seemingly stemming from the dishonest depiction of women as the passive victims of evil, patriarchal men for centuries. 

    Women have gotten a lot of mileage out of working together, filing lawsuits, gaining support from sympathetic men, and portraying themselves as victims.  Men need to start working together and doing some of these things too.  There are a lot of women’s groups fighting for all sorts of things, but virtually no men’s groups.  Part of it I’m sure is that the American male ideal, regardless of what people like Rosin say, has not changed much.  A man is still supposed to be independent, a rugged individual who is not dependent on any organization and certainly not on any woman.  If the majority of people getting into good schools now are women, and women are now out-earning men but still portraying themselves as helpless victims in need of special rights and legislation, then something is not right.

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