Would The End of Men Really Be That Great For Us?
The End of Men is a tricky title for a book. At best, it suggests that the “reign of men” is ending, and women are taking over. At worst, the uninformed passerby might think it’s saying men are dying out.
In 2010, Hanna Rosin wrote an Atlantic article also titled: 'The End of Men.' That year marked the first time in U.S. history that women comprised the majority of the workforce. Over the last two years, she turned her article into a book.
Rosin says the rise of women is due to the “hookup culture”, where women use casual relationships as a delay tactic to get married. As a result, they have more time to spend on their careers, without family responsibilities. Personally, I think the shift in American society towards women (and men) marrying later is only half the story.
The other half lies with the modern woman’s ability to accommodate to change. The flailing economy created more opportunities for careers in traditionally “female” roles – such as nursing – but simultaneously more women carved their niche in traditionally “male” industries, such as technology, construction and finance. Companies realized having women on their boards, caused them to outperform similar-sized firms with all-male boards, by 26 percent.
We’ve definitely made some leaps. Unfortunately, not quite as much has changed, as Rosin’s book suggests. Firstly, women make up a mere 3.8 percent of Fortune 500 company CEO’s. Second, the wage gap persists, and will probably continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
My concern with Rosin’s message? The implication that the man/woman power struggle is a zero-sum game. It says that women have superseded men, because men are falling. There’s no clear evidence to support her claim, and what’s worse, it also seems to suggest that the rise of women can only continue from the downfall of men. Through the amazing women I encounter on a daily basis, I’ve learned that for those with families, career success is often linked to support from their partner. For every C-level woman, there’s usually a stay-at-home husband, or some form of mutual compromise, to make things work at home. The End of Men, would not really be so great for women, after all.
As we plan our 8th Annual Fall Empowerment Event here at Little PINK Book, I’m struck by the number of smart, ambitious women asking questions that have persisted for more than the last decade: “Can we really have it all?” “Can I still be a valued team member if I leave the office at 5:30 p.m. to be with my kids?” “I’m often the only woman in the boardroom, the C-Suite, and most of my meetings. Will I be the only woman here, forever?”
To “have it all”, it's imperative to surround yourself with strong women, but strong men too. The End of Men would be quite a disaster for both sexes, alike.
** The views expressed in this piece are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Little PINK Book or any of its partners or affiliates.