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Category: Trends / Topics: Social Issues Trends Work

Mismatching?

by Dan Seagren

Posted: November 13, 2016

The changing role of men…

We are witnessing some unusual ratios today compared to days gone by. A Forbes article by Rich Karlgaard . . . “Tragic Mismatch” demanded my attention. Since births of boys and girls are almost equal, we'll take a look at uneven numbers of male and female later on. That many men are missing from marriages is well known as well as a much higher percentage of women now have entered the workplace once the reserve for men. What is relatively unknown today is a serious lack of males in skilled labor (tradespeople).

Academically, women are earning 60% of both undergraduate and master's degrees as well as 47% of law degrees and 48% of medical degrees. These numbers were unheard of years ago. More men now live with their parents than with a spouse or a partner, a trend not seen since the more agricultural era of the '30s. Only 1 in 20 public high schools offer serious vocational training. Rich Karlgaard gives several probable reasons for this, including some below worth pondering.

Boys' brains develop differently and lag behind girls early in school and slowly catch up; boys seem to develop more of a dislike of schooling than girls. Newspapers often picture more girls as academic leaders in high school than boys. Further, boys tend to have less energy and ambition than girls according to author Leonard Sax of Boys Adrift. . . He indicates that by the ages of 18-30 it seems that many men are “failing to launch themselves into productive adulthood.”

World War II began the real move of women, married and single, into the marketplace, which dropped in the decades after the war, but continues anew in recent decades. Women have assumed jobs and positions previously held by men, while automation has eliminated or reduced the need for some types of workers (affecting both men and women). The hiring of skilled workers has escalated. Inequities exist and “mis-matching” hasn't ended. Immigrants, illegal and legal, enter the equation in both menial and skilled work. Other societal factors play a role. Broken homes, especially with absentee fathers, also creates an impetus to the drift as it moves along and grows wider.

There is no perfect solution to negative drifting. Society changes as seen in mores, economics, politics et al. It is unusually complex: socially, economically, neighborly, politically, religiously, morally, ethically, domestically, academically, industrially . . . But then, isn't this true of humanity as we strive to live well? As we might say, You in your small corner and I in mine could certainly improve our society—don't you think?


Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.

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Posted: November 13, 2016

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