Acumen InsightsBlog

The End of Men? Not Quite

By February 21, 2014 No Comments

The “end of men” theory—that women are poised for complete dominance in the modern workplace—has a strong new ­­­­­critic.


Males retain power in most industries across the country, and especially the most lucrative ones, according to a study from U.C. San Diego and reported in Science Daily. The report outlines persistent inequalities in the American workplace and calls out a fatal flaw in the “end of men” theory held by writers like Slate’s Hanna Rosin and the New York Times’ David Brooks; not all jobs are created equal.


While women may dominate retail and hospitality industries, men still occupy the lion’s share of the most prestigious career tracks. For example, women make up only 21 percent of today’s scientists and engineers. The authors also examined the fields of law and medicine and found that women were grossly underrepresented.


There’s a pay gap, too. Women earn $8 for every $10 men earn according to the study, even when equal experience and work time are factored in.


And while women are outpacing men going to college, not enough women are earning the advanced degrees required for high-level jobs in medicine, engineering or law. In fact, the number of women earning advanced degrees has declined slightly since the mid-2000s.


The ongoing inequalities are bad not just for women, but for society as a whole, according to the study’s lead author, Mary Blair-Loy. “We need to make legal and organizational changes,” Blair-Loy says, “from better access to childcare and greater acceptance of flexible work schedules to more transparent hiring, evaluation and promotion procedures.”


The complete study, The Persistence of Male Power and Prestige in the Professions, is available from the Center for Research on Gender in the Professions at the University of California, San Diego.