Men at Work: Objecting ‘The End of Men’ and Celebrating Masculinity in the Workforce

Derek Rose’s meticulously researched data challenges Hannah Rosin’s “The End of Men” and renders much of the demise of men in the workforce to myth.

It’s hard to imagine a more talked-about magazine article in recent years than Hannah Rosin’s 2010 essay in The Atlantic prophesying ““The End of Men.” Guys, she argued, are just not cut out for the New Economy and are being surpassed by women. The proposition has inspired a lot of debate, a forthcoming book by Rosin and even 20 pitches for sitcoms—on CBS alone! (ABC must have receivedquite a few too).

There’s just one problem. Until now, no one has bothered to look at the labor-market statistics that Rosin has used to make her case.

I did—and found many of her claims were misleading or even untrue.

Women aren’t a majority of the workforce, nor are they most of the nation’s managers; 1 in 5 men are not out of work; and women don’t dominate 13 of the 15 job categories expected to grow the most in the next decade.

These aren’t small errors—taken together they form the crux of Rosin’s argument. Hannah Rosin and The Atlantic owe American men everywhere an apology.

Woman managers

Ms. Rosin writes: “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women now hold 51.4 percent of managerial and professional jobs—up from 26.1 percent in 1980.”

In The Atlantic‘s summary of the article—which, in fairness to Ms. Rosin, was probably not written by her—the magazine was more succinct: “Most managers are now women too.”


Not true!

In 2009 women did indeed make up 51.4 percent of 52.2 million million people employed in “Management, professional, and related occupations.” In 2010 that figure was actually 51.5 percent.

But as its name implies, “management, professional and related occupations” is a big catch-all mega-category. At that level of aggregation, all of America’s 139 million workers fit in one of these five mega-categories:

You can break the “managers and professionals” category down into, well, managers and professionals:

And once you’ve done so, more men are managers than women. Ladies made up just 38.2 percent of the 15 million people in management occupations in 2010—and just 25.5 percent of the 1.5 million chief executives.

Meanwhile, “professional” females outnumber dudes. The fairer sex made up 57.4 percent of the nation’s 30.8 million professionals in 2010, BLS says. That’s how you get an overall rate of women holding 51.5 of managerial and professional jobs.

Looking at the numbers from the “professional” category, there’s still quite a high degree of gender segregation. Men are not outmanned in “Computer and mathematical occupations” (4:1 male-to-female), “Architecture and engineering occupations” (around 7:1 dudes), or “Life, physical, and social science occupations” (53.5 percent men). Women outnumber men in fields like “Community and social services occupations,” “Education, training, and library occupations,” and “Healthcare practitioner and technical occupations.”

Basically, the reason women held 51.5 percent of the nation’s “managerial and professional” jobs in 2010 is that there a lot more women librarians, social workers and nurses. The Atlantic used that figure to falsely claim there are more women managers! Kind of a crazy example of how statistics can be used to deceive.

Rosin has also claimed women make up “54 percent of all American managers.” I’d love to see her source on this. If any study came out on this from a reputable source, I think it’d be front-page news everywhere—but I can’t find anything on Google that backs her up.

Also overall, according to the statistics, women slightly outnumber men in management and professional positions—but earn 73.5 percent of the salary of men in those fields. This is not a statistic that shows “the deterioration of the male condition.”

Women and the workforce

Not one to shy from grand pronouncements, Rosin also declared at an NPR debate that “in 2010, for the first time ever, women became the majority of the work force. This is kind of an amazing fact.” In “The End of Men,” she writes, “Earlier this year, for the first time in American history, the balance of the workforce tipped toward women, who now hold a majority of the nation’s jobs….”


Not quite.

The women-are-the-majority-of-the-workforce statistic comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but a) it was only briefly true, for four winter months in both 2009 and ’10; and b) it excludes millions of people engaging in paid work in mostly male-dominated professions. As Bill Clinton might say, it depends on what the definition of “workforce” is.

First, here’s a chart that better illuminates things:

See how much the graph wiggles around from year to year? That’s because these are seasonally unadjusted numbers, and a lot of people work in seasonal jobs. For example, many teachers have summers off, while a lot of outdoors work such as construction dries up in the winter months.

But see where the data points wiggle over the 50 percent mark in February, March, November and December of 2009 and January, February, March and April of 2010? That’s why some people are claiming women have become a majority of the workforce. (The percentage peaked at 50.357 in February 2010.)

Of course, when you adjust for seasonality, this little statistical blip goes away.

Also, a lot of guys were laid off in the recession, obviously. But we’ve bounced back. Since May 2010, women have been from 49.9 percent to 48.8 percent of the “workforce.” The most-recent data, released Friday, shows women at 49.4 percent for December 2011.

Here are the raw numbers:

The same numbers, presented a little differently—so you don’t see population growth, just women’s share of the workforce:

But more importantly—this very statistic is deceptive, or at least incomplete. What journalists call the “workforce” comes from the Current Employment Statistics program, a large survey conducted monthly by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also called the payroll survey or establishment survey, this program “surveys about 140,000 businesses and government agencies, representing approximately 440,000 individual worksites, in order to provide detailed industry data on employment, hours, and earnings of workers on nonfarm payrolls.”

When you hear on the news that first Friday of the month Labor Department statistics that the nation gained or lost X number of jobs the previous month, that’s where the data is coming from—the payroll survey. (That was also the source source on all these graphs)

But there’s an obvious limit to this data. Because it’s a survey of businesses and governments aimed at payrolls, it doesn’t include:

  • Management. Yup, the “workforce” doesn’t include managers … and, as we’ve already covered, about 60 percent of the nation’s 15 million managers are men. (In the BLS’ words, the payroll survey includes “production employees in mining and logging and manufacturing, construction employees in construction, and nonsupervisory employees in the service-providing industries. These groups account for approximately four-fifths of the total employment on private nonfarm payrolls.” In other words, it excludes more than 20 percent of total nonfarm payroll employment.)
  • The unincorporated self-employed. In 2009, 62.4 percent of the 9.8 million unincorporated self-employed were men, according to BLS.
  • Farmers. Men made up 70 percent of the 3.3 million farm operators in 2007, according to the Department of Agriculture. Among the 754,000 hired farm laborers, 84 percent were male in 2010.
  • Active-duty members of the military. There were 1.43 million servicemembers on active duty as of September 30, 2011, and 85.5 percent were male. About 1 million to 1.2 million were stationed in the U.S. as of June 30, depending on how you count.
  • Domestic workers hired directly by families. (This would be the one category where women dominate). There were about 247,000 nannies employed by individual families in 2008, according to BLS, and there are obviously other occupations where workers are hired directly.

Still, the workers excluded from this statistical definition of the workforce are generally men.

Now—I know your objection here. You’re saying, “Hey, it’s a big country, Rose. No statistic is ever going to measure everyone. Don’t be a nit-picker unless you have something better to offer.”

Well… as a matter of fact… I do have something better to offer. The BLS actually conducts another survey every month—the Current Population Survey, aka the household survey. This is a monthly survey of 60,000 households that is used to derive the unemployment figures you hear on the news. As the BLS says, “the household survey has a more expansive scope than the establishment survey because it includes the self-employed, unpaid family workers, agricultural workers, and private household workers, who are excluded by the establishment survey.” (It still doesn’t include the 30 to 35 percent of Department of Defense personnel living stateside on military bases, but what can you do).

When you look at the household survey, in December 201173.1 million men over the age of 20 and 63.3 million women over the age 20 said they were employed. On a (seasonally adjusted) percentage basis, 73.4 percent of men were classified as “participating in the labor force”—which is to say, they were either employed (full-time or part-time) or were actively looking for work. Women’s “participation rate” was 59.5 percent. Fully 67.5 percent of men over 20 were actually employed, compared to 54.8 percent of women.

So basically, according to BLS, in December there were 9.8 million more men working than women. Claims that women make up a majority of the workforce are misleading at best.

(This is not a typical way in which you’d look at these labor statistics. Generally you’d look at what percentage of women vs. men are working. This is a chart that illustrates, out of all the people who told the U.S. Census Bureau they were working, what percentage were women. I’ve broken down the numbers by full-time workers (35+ hours/week) and by total employment, as well as by seasonality).

One in five men are not out of work

Rosin said in the NPR debate, “Now, how are men doing these days? They’re doing very, very badly. … Right now, one in five men are out of work, which is the highest percentage that’s ever existed.”

That does sound apocalyptic, right? I half-expect hordes of unemployed men to start setting up tent cities in parks across America! (Oh… wait).

But the way she said it is misleading. What Rosin wrote in “The End of Men” is actually right: “In 1950, roughly one in 20 men of prime working age, like Henderson, was not working; today that ratio is about one in five, the highest ever recorded.”

There’s a difference, obviously, between being “out of work” and not working. My 34-year-old brother would count as one of those men not working—that’s because he’s going to law school at the University of Chicago, with a job already lined up for the summer at a prestigious San Francisco firm. But technically, right now he is one of those men of prime working age who isn’t “working.”

Let’s look at how Rosin came up with this statistic. In January 2010 the employment-to-population ratio for (civilian, noninstitutionalized) men aged 25 to 54 hit a seasonally adjusted low of 80.4 percent, according to BLS. That is indeed the lowest it’s ever been since figures were kept in 1948, when the rate was 94.1 percent.

As you can see, dudes were hammered in the recession—but are starting to bounce back a little. In November 2011, 81.6 percent of guys 25-54 were working, although that’s still a good way off the 86-88 percent levels found around 2001-05.

The percentage of women working, meanwhile, has been falling slightly for the past decade.

In 1948 just 33.7 percent of women 25-54 worked outside the home. That number rose gradually over the years, peaking at 74.2 percent in 2000. But then it started dipping—to 71.8 by ’04, actually rose during the recession (72.5 percent in ’07), but has now been falling again. In November 2011, 68.7 of women aged 25 to 54 worked outside the home—the same proportion that were back in 1988.

It’s worth noting, though, that of the 7 million men and 15.6 million women aged 25-54 and classified as “not in the labor pool,” only 1 million men and 1.5 million women say they want a job. (These were people who weren’t actively searching for one, though. There were another 4.2 million men and 3.8 million women who were classified as unemployed, meaning they had made some effort to find a job in the last four weeks).

Some of these not-working guys were, like my brother, going to school, or enjoying early retirement, or taking care of their children. (Isn’t that last what feminists wanted—more dudes to be house-husbands?).

Here’s a snapshot of what the 61.6 million men and 63.1 women aged 25-54 in the U.S. were up to in September 2011:

Here’s the same data except for the folks that were working, so you can more easily see the other numbers:

(These figures don’t quite add up—I ended up with 639,302 “extra” men and 665,413 “extra” women among the ranks of the not-employed. I think some of the retirees and disabled people are being counted twice, which makes a certain amount of sense: someone can be a disabled homemaker, for example).

As you can see, aside from the the women taking care of their family responsibilities, there’s not a huge gender gap in any of these numbers.

Here’s a graph looking at all the percentage of 25- to 54-year-olds who were either working, or say they weren’t working because they were in school or “taking care of house or family.” (That is how the BLS groups people, folks that are taking time off from the labor force to reinstall their vinyl siding get placed in the same category as full-time parents, for whatever reason). (Also, note that these numbers only go back until 1994.)

Aside from the last few years of the recession, there’s not much gender difference, is there? Basically from 1994 through 2008, about 90 percent of both men and women aged 25-54 were either working, in school or raising kids. That changed with millions of men thrown out of work with the recession, but here’s to hoping the economy rights itself in the next year or two.

Just to be clear, it’s not that sociologists, urban planners and politicians shouldn’t be concerned about the unemployed, the rise in disability cases or people being layabouts. But the implication that dudes make up more of the “idle unemployed” than women—perhaps popularized by this New York Times article—is not really supported by the evidence, or at least by this statistic.

Economic projections

Rosin writes that, “Of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most in the next decade in the U.S., all but two are occupied primarily by women.” She continues:

Men dominate just two of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most over the next decade: janitor and computer engineer. Women have everything else—nursing, home health assistance, child care, food preparation. Many of the new jobs, says Heather Boushey of the Center for American Progress, “replace the things that women used to do in the home for free.” None is especially high-paying. But the steady accumulation of these jobs adds up to an economy that, for the working class, has become more amenable to women than to men.

This is a statistic that has echoed around the web—googling it I got nearly 7,000 hits—but it’s not true.

There are two ways to look at job growth, of course: by percent or numerically. But in either case, the Bureau of Labor Statistics figures don’t show what Rosin says they do. The 15 professions expected to grow the most from 2008-’18 by total openings include the male-dominated fields of construction laborers, heavy truck drivers and landscaping and grounds keeping workers. Men also dominate several fields in the top 15 by percentage growth, including biomedical engineers, network systems and data communications analysts and computer software engineers.

More importantly—why look at just the top 15 professions? The BLS lists the top 30. And those top 15 professions (by number) are expected to generate less than 5 million new jobs in an labor force expected to generate 15 million new jobs by 2018. It’s as if she’s cherry-picking statistics!

Looking at industries, rather than specific occupations, construction is expected to generate the most new jobs from 2008-’18, 1.3 million—completely offsetting the expected declines in manufacturing (-1.2 million) and mining (-104,000).

It’s also worth noting that according to the BLS, “Replacement needs are projected to account for 67 percent of the approximately 50.9 million job openings between 2008 and 2018. Thus, even occupations that are projected to experience slower-than-average growth or to decline in employment still may offer many job openings.”

For example, mining is an industry in decline—yet it still offers some really phenomenal job opportunities.

Basically this is a not a statistic that should worry men or said to presage our downfall.

About those childless young urban women outearning men

There’s another somewhat misleading labor-market statistic that came out after “The End of Men” was published and has gotten a lot of attention. A 2010 study report by Slingerlands, N.Y.-based consumer-research firm Reach Advisors found that in 2008 (the height of the “mancession”) childless, single, urban women aged 22 to 30 outnumber their male counterparts by about 8 percent.

The big reason for this isn’t really that urban men are being “outcompeted” by women—it’s that married men make MUCH more than single guys. (This is actually “common knowledge among empirical labor economists”—who knew?)

Red: Male ever-married, no kids
Dark blue: Male ever-married, kids present
Purple: Female ever-married, no kids present
Orange: Male never-married, no kids
Light blue: Female, never-married, no kids
Green: Female, married, kids present)

Married, childless women also make more than single childless women, although it’s not as big a gap. Here’s another way of looking at the data … see how the pale colors start out lower than their darker counterparts, and then exceed them as you move right, along the income scale?

(This chart is a little deceptive, though, because the average age in these groups is certainly not the same. Still, illustrative I think).

Even when you control for education and age, ever-married guys make significantly more than never-married dudes. For example, nationally the average 27-year-old guy with a bachelor’s degree (only) in 2008-’10 made $45,976 if he was (or had been) married, $39,604 if he wasn’t. (Ever-married childless 27-year-old women with bachelor’s made just slightly more than their never-married female counterparts, $35,574 vs. $35,122).

This type of wage survey can’t tell, of course, whether the association between wages and marriage is a cause or an effect. Does financial success lead to dating success? Or does marriage and having a supportive spouse lead to job success? Or is a third factor the cause of both? Perhaps certain individuals possess something (drive, maturity, attractiveness, intelligence, charisma, dependability) that allows them to do well in both the employment and marriage markets. Or perhaps, as two German economists posited, married men are less satisfied with their incomes, and therefore work harder. Theories abound, but none seem to be widely accepted—in a 2002 paper for the St. Louis Fed, two researchers said the reason for the gap “might remain an enigma.”

I wanted to dig through the Reach Advisors survey for myself, but it’s not available on their website and a representative told me via email, “At the time of the study, we released our findings to a small number of media outlets but we are no longer circulating it.” Having made a media splash, it seems like the company doesn’t want its work scrutinized … but after digging through the numbers myself quite a bit, I’m quite satisfied that this is what is happening.

Here’s a table I constructed looking at the earnings of 178,750 American Community Survey respondents aged 22-40 representing 7 million people in counties from this list of where single women are said to outearn men the most. As you can see, the never-married childless women in this subset do outearn similar men well into their 30s… but that slight gap is dwarfed by the one between the never-married men and men who are or have ever been married. (Also, note now the salaries for never-married men and women and childless married women stagnate or even decline in their 30s—that’s because there’s less and less people in those subgroups).

Basically, that never-married women outearn never-married men in certain areas is somewhat interesting, but it’s hard to say whether that would still be true if all the married men had been somehow prevented from marrying—or that guys are getting “outcompeted” in the workplace.

Having examined labor-market statistics here, in part two of this post I’ll look at the education statistics used to predict that guys are being surpassed.

Originally appeared at

–Photo Seattle Municipal Archives/Flickr

About Derek Rose

Derek Rose has worked for 15 years as a newspaper reporter, wire service editor and copy editor. In his free time he enjoys running, yoga and playing with his two cats, Coco and Papi.


  1. I show Rosin’s TED talk to my Intro to Sociology class, mostly to pick apart her arguments. At one point she even implies that the “boy child preference” in China has nearly faded away. (So. Not. True!)

    You’ve done a brilliant job of illuminating the facts here. I plan to assign this article to my class as follow-up reading!

  2. A really great article refuting the predictions made by Hannah Rosin about the end of men. It is quite obvious that men would continue to dominate the work force. Pitirim Sorokin said that American sociology is the painful elaboration of the obvious.

  3. Hannah Rosin could never dream of a better publicist than the scores of people who remain outraged at her 18-month-old story in The Atlantic.

    • I know, right? But Rosin’s article was really very influential, and she’s apparently coming out with a book along the same theme. Really, I think very few people are going to pay very much attention to this article — it’s too dense and technical; you’d have to be already interested in Rosin’s argument.

      But for those that are and want to take the time to understand the statistics Rosin uses, I hope there is a pretty good payoff.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Honestly, her article doesn’t annoy me a bit, even if it isn’t factually correct. She wasn’t the one who claimed that men’s rights issues didn’t exist on the basis that some men are privileged.

      • derek rose says:

        I’m offended — not as a man but as a JOURNALIST. Especially the incorrect women-are-more-managers statistic. The Atlantic really needs to correct that.

        • Derek – have you handed this lot over to the Village Voice etal?

          • derek rose says:

            no … when i first posted it on my blog last week, i sent a copy to media critic Jim Romenesko, Glenn Reynolds of instapundit and Tom here. Tom was the only one who responded! And was interested in republishing it here, hence this post. I probably should have pitched here here to begin with, but it wayyy exceeded the max suggested lengths. Maybe I’ll try and see if I can’t dig up some more contacts to self-promote…

            • Derek – I liked this piece, and found it refreshingly free of spin, unlike Roisin’s article. However, I felt there wasn’t much “story”; good data analysis and pointing out Roisin’s errors may not be enough for mainstream publications without a narrative thread. Hope you do get a wider audience.

            • Well Derek – it seems that Journalism and New Media is just focused on Demographic vs Advertising Revenue. The only facts that count are the Bottom Line. P^)

              “Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.”
              Napoleon Bonaparte

        • Peter Houlihan says:

          Yep, on grounds of factual accuracy and transparancy its bothersome. I meant more that as a man I didn’t see as much erasure of men’s issues as I did in Patrick’s piece.

  4. Great. Now all the feminazi’s will be back with their battle axes to make sure men get a proper beat-down this time. I was hoping Rosin’s article would quiet them down if they had stats claiming men were defeated. If we claim a victor, we can all go back to fighting our own fight in the real world which is as challenging for boys as it is for girls. As a woman, I see plenty of sexism. It sucks. As a mother, I also see plenty of sexism against my sons. Also sucks.

    • Hey, I thought this website was going to stop the feminist-bashing. The Good Men Project should not accept posts that use words like feminazi.

      • Marie – you raise an interesting point. But, I do have to point out that the person using the term is a woman, which may be seen to be an expression of a valid point of view, and not an attack upon Feminism, per se.

  5. Derek — Fantastic job drilling into the details. I very much look forward to your upcoming analysis of the educational performance and educational attainment numbers with respect to the Richard Whitmire data and the recent article in the NYT by Catherine Rampell.

    Chris, quoting you: “The Anglo-American model is very much to expect men to ignore their parental commitments, and leave women to pick up the ball – an arrangement which I don’t think is good for either sex.”

    I wonder. The data released 10 months ago by the White House Council on Women and Girls, below the “headline” level actually showed men in the US were engaged in slightly more overall average work hours per week than women when you combined both work hours outside the home and work hours in the household. And of course the greater earnings for men outside the home were, as Rampell pointed out in a NYT blog piece a year or so ago, were clustered at the >$100,000 year category, below which men and women earned essentially indistinguishable amounts, even before accounting for the greater average number of hours worked outside the home by men.

    Anecdotally, this brings to mind the comment of acquaintances, a high powered woman who is a litigator with a major US firm in a major Eastern US city, and her male spouse who is a psychiatrist. Just before she had kids, at a social event he said to me “I’m really looking forward to cutting back office hours and spending time with the kids.” His wife overheard and immediately replied, with some vigor, “If there is any staying home to be done, I will be the one taking care of that!” He caved immediately. The anecdote is backed up by work-life balance satisfaction survey data, which shows men continue to be less satisfied with the extra time they spend working outside the home and women more satisfied with the time they can spend at home.

    • JustAMan — Thank you. That Catherine Rampell NYT article was a little odd, wasn’t it? She started off talking about the phenomenom of women dropping out of the workforce “in droves.” This is a real thing — guys got disproportionately slammed in the Great Recession, but since the recovery began in mid-2009, men have been taking most of the new jobs, while women have been leaving the labor force.

      No one is really sure why this is. The N.Y. Post had a revealing quote from a VP of the National Women’s Law Center on Friday: “We looked industry by industry to try to understand what was happening and why women were doing so badly. But looking at it, it was hard to understand what was going on.”

      Anyway, Rampell suggested that the decline in the female labor force was caused by young women “postponing their working lives to get more education.” Looking at the data, I don’t think that’s a very good explanation at all about what is happening. Much of the decline in the labor force is from women 25 to 44. (I’m not denying that more women in their early 20s are enrolling in college, tho. It’s also very silly to compare this fairly mild uptick in enrollment to the postwar college boom caused by the G.I. Bill).

      So where did these “missing” women go? My theory is that maybe they didn’t want to be in the workforce to begin with, but had to support their laid-off husbands. But that’s really more of a guess. USA Today ran a story a little while ago suggesting that maybe guys were outcompeting women for the retail jobs. But the women’s law center numbers indicate this phenomenom is going on across industries.

      Anyway. Basically to preview the second part of this article — I’m really going to ask, how much does it really matter that women outnumber guys going to college? Are guys really going to be “left behind” in the workforce if we don’t get degrees? I’m tend to agree with the argument made by Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel, who argues that there is a higher education bubble.

  6. Peter Houlihan says:

    Good gracious, The Atlantic really dropped the ball.

    Astounding work.

  7. So: professional women continue to be over-represented in lower-paid jobs (education, healthcare), and earn 73.5 percent of the salary of men in those fields. Marriage is good for men’s pay, but bad for women’s. The financial burden of parenthood is overwhelmingly placed on women.

    Certainly not the end of men, but I’m unclear what the take-away if from your article. Go team patriarchy? The only message that I’m getting is that, whatever claims have been made for the gains women have made in the workplace and society, there’s still a long way to go.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      “The only message that I’m getting is that, whatever claims have been made for the gains women have made in the workplace and society, there’s still a long way to go.”

      There sure is, but if you look at the one statistic which was extended over more than a couple of decades (8th graph in “Percentage of Workforce that is female” 1964 – 2011) the news is very encouraging indeed.

      It helps to keep in mind that that graph only examined the curve between 30% and 50%, if you looked at the graph from 0% to 100% you’d see that the percentage of the workeforce is female is only slightly off 50%. Equally its important to remember that alot of the other graphs only showed 1/10th of the graph (between 40% and 50%). As a result, what looks at first glance to be a yawning gap is actually quite close.

      I’m not sure I’d interpret the pay gap between married men and women with kids as a “loss” for women. I don’t think that these represent discrimination in the wordplace against married women with kids so much as that responsibility for work still places men in the role of external provider and women in the role of internal provider. Both partners still enjoy the resulting income and as far as I know theres still plenty of data out there suggesting that women enjoy more control over household expenditure, including discretionary expenditure.

      All in all I think things are still edging towards equality, but in the meantime women are far from badly off.

      • Peter, I agree that the big picture (since 1964) is encouraging, although I do think the tendency to ghettoise and underpay “women’s work” is evidence that there’s a long way to go.

        The gap between married with kids women and men I take it to be evidence that more women go part-time etc when children arrive. However, in the experience of people I know, that decision tends to be taken in light of whichever partner earns more. This exaggerates the existing discrepancy in incomes, as it becomes ‘all or nothing.’ If women and men’s incomes were identically distributed, I might expect men and women with kids to have a similar drop in income.

        The Anglo-American model is very much to expect men to ignore their parental commitments, and leave women to pick up the ball – an arrangement which I don’t think is good for either sex.

        • Peter Houlihan says:

          “although I do think the tendency to ghettoise and underpay “women’s work” is evidence that there’s a long way to go.” How do you mean? Housekeeping type stuff or the caring professions?

          Your second point is an excellent one, but theres another factor to be considered: Do men, conciously or unconciously, aim for careers which yield higher saleries even prior to marriage because they expect to be the primary earner? I suspect upbringing and depictions of gender in the media contribute to this.

          Or expect women to ignore their financial committments and men to pick up the ball. But I agree, it would be better for everyone if both roles were less set in stone.

        • derek rose says:

          “If women and men’s incomes were identically distributed, I might expect men and women with kids to have a similar drop in income. ”

          Ah, but as one of the chart shows, unmarried, childless men and women do actually have very similar salaries. Women however seem to have some preference for dating well-off dudes, as well as guys who are slightly older. Guys on average seem to prefer younger women and don’t care that much about income. The result is that in 2007, the women made more in only 22 percent of marriages.

      • The wage gap between married women and men is a huge loss for women. It puts them in the subordinate position and makes it more possible for men to rule the world. I disagree that the woman is the internal provider. Any woman who depends on a husband’s income is putting hersself in an extremely vulnerable, subordinate position. If a man loves a woman, he will do everything possible to see that she develops in her career and is financially independent. If a man really loves a woman, he will become a househusband if necessary.

        • Isn’t there more to life than money, though, Marie? (I certainly didn’t choose my career path, journalism, thinking I would get rich doing it…).

          Guys sacrifice a LOT for their higher pay. We’re about 10 times more likely to die on the job, much more likely to work nontraditional hours also in general work longer hours than women.

          You could just as easily argue that MARRIAGE puts higher-income earners (generally men, but not always) in an extremely vulnerable, subordinate position. Just lookit Mel Gibson’s $425 million divorce settlement … or Jack Welch’s $180 million settlement.

        • If a man really loves a woman he will do everything he can to help her career, including become a househusband? Doesnt this then put him in the same subordinate position that you claim makes women so vulnerable? I’m sure that’s not what you meant though, and that if the roles were reversed, you would be happy to do whatever it takes to help the man you love become financially independent (including becoming a housewife!)

          So, here’s my suggestion. If this married wage gap makes you so uncomfortable, your path forward is clear – marry a guy who makes less money than you do. Security guards, cleaners and social workers all are pretty poorly paid, perhaps search for a spouse in one of those industries. Or maybe you can search for a higher paid job. Generally, men get better pay when they choose to work longer hours, or pick difficult, dirty or dangerous jobs. Mining work for example, can be very lucrative, so maybe try that. You will then have the pleasure of being the primary breadwinner in your family. And what’s even better this would also give you the opportunity to helping your lower earning partner become financially independent. What’s good for the Goose, right?

    • derek rose says:

      Hey Chris. The point of my article was to examine the labor-market statistics used by Rosin and others to argue that “men are finished” and somehow less suited for the New Economy than women.

      I know that that is an odd argument to be refuting, because most people would tend to say it’s still a “man’s world,” but Rosin’s argument has caught on in certain circles.

      Do women go into lesser-paying jobs because of “patriarchy,” or is it simply a question of women making difference choices than men? I’d tend to think the latter, but that’s really outside the scope of what I was trying to examine here.

      As I wrote, it’s not clear that “marriage is good for men’s pay.” It’s also possible that well-paid dudes are simply more likely to marry.

      And as you can sorta see in the graphs, childless married women do make more than childless unmarried women — it’s not not as strong an association as with men. Again, it’s not clear if that is a cause or an effect.

      • [just lost another reply to auto-update. Sigh…]

        Derek, nice job with the analysis, particularly the “management” figure. I’m not sure why Roisin’s argument has proved so popular, as it might suggest that patriarchy is over, which I’m sure is not something a lot of her fans would say! Possibly a bit of trying to have it both ways?

        I agree with you about marriage and men’s pay: it’s as/more likely that low earners in particular may be less likely to marry: also that co-habiting might show a class and/or income stratification (at least in the UK). I think I misread one of your charts in an earlier comment, btw – thanks for the clarification.

        As in any large dataset, one can find figures that say a lot of different things, and it’s a question of which facts one privileges over the others that determines the narrative. For me, two things stand out as important: that women are over-represented in certain professions (which “coincidentally” are the poorly-paid ones: I think if you broke down healthcare into nursing and qualified doctors you’d see a clear gender divide), and that the financial burden of children falls on women’s salaries.

        That those professions are female-dominated is not surprising to me – but there’s an interesting argument about why society values teachers and nurses so poorly. One mark of “esteemed professions” is that they tended to be male-only until relatively recently.

        To clarify my point about the burden of parental responsibility (re: JustAMan’s comment below) – I was talking about the actual business of childcare and being a (present) parent, not earning enough to pay someone else to do it for you. Men have been expected to work long hours, and that expectation doesn’t really change when they have kids. As a result women’s salaries suffer disproportionately, and men get to be absentee parents. Like I said, bad for both parties.

        • I think part of the reason Rosin’s argument is so popular is that some women love love love to be able to complain about men… ;).

          If are so inclined — I got a kick out of reading this transcript of a Sept. 20 debate between Rosin and Dan Abrams vs. Christina Hoff Sommers and David Zinczenko. (I don’t feel Zinczenko represented us very well!)

          I feel like in a capitalist society, people’s pay is determined strictly by supply and demand. There’s no central planning authority that decides what people make — it’s based on the market. The employers try to pay as little as they can to get qualified people, while employees hold out for as much salary as they can get.

          I don’t really agree that nurses and teachers are paid “so poorly,” either … here in NYC, starting salary for a hospital RN is $51,000, going up to $80,000 for supervisory positions. NYC teacher salary starts at $51,425 for folks with a master’s degree, but experienced teachers can earn up to $100,049 a year, and have really great benefits. Summers off are nice.

          • Derek: Interesting debate score: she seemed to “win” convincingly. This may go to show that debate is a poor means of gaguing truth, especially when one of your experts is the editor of a glossy magazine with “ABS” and “SEX” on the cover 🙂

            Supply and demand: in an economist’s wet dream, perhaps. Relative positions of power matter hugely when it comes to determining how much is “as little as they can” and ” as much as they can get.” To take an extreme example, the lot of peasants in feudal England wasn’t bad because there were too many peasants!

            Healthcare and education are very different in the UK, I was only speaking about the situation over here. And it’s true, teachers in the private sector can make decent money – but not compared to the other professions, comparing like with like. Also, if you’re a teacher in a good fee-paying school over here, you’re working Saturdays and spending most of those “summers off” organising doing school trips &c. I wouldn’t swap…

            • derek rose says:

              No no wages are really just a matter of supply and demand. As long as people are free to charge what they want for their labor, they will charge as much as they can, while employers will charge as little as they can. If there’s an oversupply of labor wages go down; an undersupply prices go up. That’s true if you’re a migrant farmhand or a brain surgeon…

          • “I feel like in a capitalist society, people’s pay is determined strictly by supply and demand. There’s no central planning authority that decides what people make — it’s based on the market. The employers try to pay as little as they can to get qualified people, while employees hold out for as much salary as they can get.”

            Absolutely. Agree 100%. I think another factor affecting wages is whether an employees work directly relates to profit for their employers or not. This also helps explains the comparatively lower salaries of those in the teaching and social work professions. These salaries are paid out of ever shrinking Government funds, and the teachers and social workers work performance can never result in increased income to their employers which could be used to fund salary increases.

    • David Byron says:

      Marriage is good for women getting their husband’s pay.

  8. The Bad Man says:

    That’s an awesome collection of statistics and meaningful commentary. I’m bookmarking this for future reference. There will always be a use for men in technical, trades and labor intensive industries. The real problem is that young men are falling behind in academic careers and won’t be equally represented among the influential intelligentsia.

    I recently saw a documentary on Sweden about gender equality and it seems that gender segregation by occupation and interests have become more entrenched (aside from government quotas) in a more free and egalitarian society. I found it astonishing that girls in third world countries had more interest in technical careers (but less opportunity) than in more egalitarian first world nations.

    All of those personal choices in occupation add up to a real disparity in work hours and wages.

    • hi i am from india the reason girls in countries like mine study technical courses is not because of interest but its the only area that will recruit girls( the software industry) with high pay without much needed intellectual ability. its not a choice for these girls but the only way as they want to have a high paid job…


  1. […] is a big crock of sh*t. Here is one response to the subject that was originally published on The Good Men Project. Click here to read an excerpt of Manning Up. It’s hard to imagine a more talked-about magazine […]

  2. […] 3.  The End of the Myth of the End of Men […]

Speak Your Mind