The always fab and women’s-rights-loving Nicholas Kristof points out in his NYT column today that “in this decade, for the first time in American history, men no longer inevitably dominate the labor force. Women were actually the majority of payroll employees for the five months that ended in March, according to one measure from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s mostly because about three-quarters of Americans who lost their jobs in the Great Recession were men.”
That’s right: suck it, XY-chromosomed losers.
Now, this whole lipstick-dominated workplace phenomenon isn’t new.
And it’s not so simple. Women only prevail in the winters, when men-fueled industries like construction don’t have as many jobs available, and men reign in the summers for the same reason.
Hannah Rosin covered this new female upswing in the workforce for the Atlantic with her lovingly-titled cover piece, The End of Men. But Kristoff argues that really women are just catching up — and not taking over in some sort of stilettoed march to upper management.
In fact, the women currently holding down the mortgage payments never really benefit, because any “equal” pay they bring home is used to support their no-goodnik jobless husbands.
The truth is that we men have typically benefited as women have gained greater equality. Those men who have lost their jobs in the recession are now more likely to have a wife who still has a job and can keep up the mortgage payments. And women have been particularly prominent in the social sector, devising new programs for the mostly male ranks of the jobless or homeless.
So forget about gender war and zero-sum games. Odds are that we men will find a way to hold our own, with the help of women. And we’ll benefit as smart and talented women belatedly have the opportunity to deploy their skills on behalf of all of humanity — including those of us with Y chromosomes.
So in sum: men, don’t worry about your wives making more money than you because they’re the ones paying for the house while you send resumes play with your new Wii and try to stay out of jail. Isn’t equality of the sexes a beautiful thing?