Women and Men

Last week, I was deeply amused by one of conservative commentator Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds' awesome blog entries about what he calls THE MANCESSION, in which he provides "a scary graphic" showing the male unemployment rate higher than the female unemployment rate and quotes an explanation care of our favorite feminist concern troll, Christina Hoff Sommers, purporting to answer: "Why is it happening?"
Mark Perry, an economist at the University of Michigan, characterizes the recession as a 'downturn' for women but a 'catastrophe' for men. Men are bearing the brunt of the current economic crisis because they predominate in manufacturing and construction, the hardest-hit sectors, which have lost more than 3 million jobs since December 2007. Women, by contrast, are a majority in recession-resistant fields such as education and health care, which gained 588,000 jobs during the same period. Rescuing hundreds of thousands of unemployed crane operators, welders, production line managers, and machine setters was never going to be easy. But the concerted opposition of several powerful women's groups has made it all but impossible.
At the time, I sent it to Deeks so he and I could snark about it by email, because that's what we do, and Deeks said, "Oh you powerful and conniving women, with your lobbies, looking to sink all those male-dominated industries! Because that would be totes good for women in the long run."

I pointed out: Now, totally aside from the fact that they're ignoring the realities about how women who are unemployed fall off the grid more easily because they just become stay-at-home-moms or homemakers or wev after they can't get a job for a year, I love how the conservatives are going apeshit how it's SO AWFUL because the recession is hitting professions dominated by (straight) men, and it doesn't occur to them that those professions are male-dominated because men drive women OUT OF THEM.

See: firefighter story from last Thursday. Also see: Films like North Country, about how women who try to do a job like mining are harassed with rape and death threats and subjected to actual violence just for trying to "do a man's job." Etc.

So women were forced into underpaid pink collar professions like education and nursing. By men. And now the female-dominated industries are thriving. And now the same men who forced them there are whining about it. Priceless.

Meanwhile, the male-dominated professions known as the financial industry and politics, the members of which who are, by any measure, more responsible for the current economic crisis than feminists or any other damn scapegoat, mysteriously aren't coming up for criticism. Funny that.

It's almost enough to make one think that maybe the MANCESSION wouldn't be so bad, if only the power of commerce hadn't been centralized in the hands of men.

But that's just crazy talk!

Fast forward to this morning, when I received an email from Shaker IvyCeltress linking to this op-ed in the Washington Post, which reports "at least half a dozen [studies], from a broad spectrum of organizations such as Columbia University, McKinsey & Co., Goldman Sachs and Pepperdine University, [have documented] a clear relationship between women in senior management and corporate financial success. By all measures, more women in your company means better performance."

Without debating the nature v. nurture merits of some of the op-ed's contentions, which really would necessitate a whole other thread, I'll just note that, whether women and men tend to be different (which does not mean "unequal") by way of their genes, their socialization, or some combination thereof, one of the most important ways of honoring those differences is by full-throatedly endorsing diversity.

The people who don't support diversity are people who use "different" as an excuse to treat the Other as less than, and subsequently use that asserted inequality as the basis for exclusion.

Hence, male-dominated industries with institutional bias against inclusion—which are now failing as a result of an intractable belief in their own superiority.

The irony would be funny, if so many people weren't suffering as a result.

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