Monday, June 29, 2015

Manhood and the gender-parity inflection point

Ack. Here's an article on manhood, with many not-what-I-expected statistics that women are out-earning men, adapting to new social and economic standards, and leaving them behind. Yes, that's right.

It's interesting and befuddling that, in low-income settings, women are so outperforming (and outnumbering) men, while in high-income/status settings (the technology sector comes to mind, as well as higher education) women are discriminated against and an extreme minority. Is there an inflection point,* somewhere on the socioeconomic scale, where men and women have achieved parity?**

I recoil at the suggestion that school needs to be made more "boy-friendly", probably because every other article in my inbox is about how science education needs to be made more "girl-friendly". Dissonance! Although I am soothed by the author's explicit mention that suggested changes to the classroom are "all helpful, and all things that might be appreciated by girls, too."

The article jumps all around, from broad and depressing statistics to accessible anecdotes and prescriptive suggestions from Sweden***. The takeaway message was bafflement, and the unusual and welcome thought that my worldview had been slightly widened to include a world with the statistics and anecdata of this argument. I'm also puzzled why the article is  framed as if gains for women equals (necessitates, requires, produces) losses for men.**** Why must it be a zero-sum game of employment?

This post's theme word is inosculate, "to join or unite." It's intransitive. Who would want to inosculate home, health, and fate with an unpleasant, violent, ill-mannered, uneducated partner?

*An intermediate-value-wish like this one seems unlikely, because the statistics probably aren't dense enough to be continuous. Big discontinuities at: high school diploma, college diploma, parents' socioeconomic indicators, etc.

**On the one hand, I'd like to live at that point, where men and women are equally employed, equally caretakers, equally-represented, equally successful. On the other hand, I probably don't want to move down the socioeconomic scale to reach that point, if I am currently above it.

***This is the parallel of Godwin's Law for articles on issues of economy, family, employment, education, health, or any other aspect of society: the article will, eventually, hold up Sweden as an example.

****On the other hand, the article illustration of a see-saw has a man on one side and no one is playing with him on the other side; yet he is still, inexplicably and in defiance of physics, up.

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