Does a changing economy mean the "End of Men"?

Sun Sep 9, 2012 8:37am EDT
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By Anna Louie Sussman

NEW YORK (Reuters) - For all the bluster of her book's title, "The End of Men: And the Rise of Women," Hanna Rosin is surprisingly ambivalent about whether men are, in fact, doomed.

Women are quicker to adapt to the economy's new demands, Rosin says, pursuing higher education in record numbers and dominating fast-growing professions such as nursing and accounting.

At the same time, men watch the shrinking of manufacturing, construction and other traditionally male industries as if paralyzed, on the couch with a beer in hand.

More than two years of research and reporting, though, have left Rosin unconvinced that the end of men is inevitable.

"It's an obnoxious title," she conceded about her book and the 2010 cover story in the Atlantic magazine that launched it. "And I think my argument would have been much easier to make if I believed that women's brains are one way and men's brains are another way and the economy prefers our brains right now."

Rosin draws on data and anecdotes from a wide range of sources to depict a new global matriarchy.

She charts the feminization of pharmacy work, visiting the University of Wisconsin's pharmacy school in Madison, where 62 percent of the freshman class is female. A group of girlfriends there are aiming for six-figure salaries; one envisions a husband who greets her after work "with a freshly baked cookie."

"The economy is incredibly fluid right now. There are always going to be some kinds of new jobs that the economy throws up, so the question is, who is nimble and willing to get with the program and be responsive? And for whatever reason that's not men," she said.   Continued...