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I recently was forwarded an article called ‘The End of Men’ which originally appeared in July 2010 – and is clearly very well researched. It is long but interesting. (And no menfolk are still very much loved, adored and needed the dramatic title is clearly designed to get our attention).
This US centric article focuses on the evolution of the role men and women are playing in industrialized societies. As I read the article I did feel uplifted – however I had the question sitting in the back of my head – yes this might be true in the US – but is it true for Australia?
In my experience in Australia annually on International Womens Day the same poor figures about participation of women in leadership are trotted out. Our social structures and the way we work have dramatically changed in the last 200 years – yet as a species have we been able to evolve as fast?
Some of the thought provoking ideas from the article:

  • “As thinking and communicating have come to eclipse physical strength and stamina as the keys to economic success, those societies that take advantage of the talents of all their adults, not just half of them, have pulled away from the rest.”
  • “In 2006, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development devised the Gender, Institutions and Development Database, which measures the economic and political power of women in 162 countries. With few exceptions, the greater the power of women, the greater the country’s economic success.”

 

  • “More to the point, what if the economics of the new era are better suited to women?”
  • “Of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most in the next decade in the U.S., all but two are occupied primarily by women. Indeed, the U.S. economy is in some ways becoming a kind of traveling sisterhood: upper-class women leave home and enter the workforce, creating domestic jobs for other women to fill.”
  • “The postindustrial economy is indifferent to men’s size and strength. 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.”
  • “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 childcare. 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.”
  • “A 2008 study attempted to quantify the effect of this more-feminine management style. Researchers at Columbia Business School and the University of Maryland analyzed data on the top 1,500 U.S. companies from 1992 to 2006 to determine the relationship between firm performance and female participation in senior management. Firms that had women in top positions performed better, and this was especially true if the firm pursued what the researchers called an “innovation intensive strategy,” in which, they argued, “creativity and collaboration may be especially important”—an apt description of the future economy.”

It is worth a read – if for no other reason than to challenge our existing ideas and the language use to stereotype by gender.
I have often been accused of being bossy…. if I was a bloke I would just be considered assertive. And our predisposed view of the world is that men are ‘supposed to be assertive’…. we as a species have a lot of evolutionary development to do to catch up to societies changes.
I’d be curious to know your thoughts on this…
 
 

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