Garth George: Gone before women rule

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I am a man and I'm entering the twilight of my life.

For me, as for most blokes, that's not a particularly happy place to be.

But not any more. I'm glad I'll be long gone before the world turns upside down, women become the providers rather than the nurturers, and the male of the species becomes redundant.

This is, apparently, already happening and has been for a couple of decades if you believe Hanna Rosin, an American journalist and author who has written a book called The End of Men and whose 8500-word synopsis in the Atlantic magazine I had the misfortune to come across this week.

Says Rosin: "Man has been the dominant sex since, well, the dawn of mankind. But for the first time in human history, that is changing - and with shocking speed. Cultural and economic changes always reinforce each other. And the global economy is evolving in a way that is eroding the historical preference for male children, worldwide."

And it's not just happening in the Western world. According to Rosin it's also happening in countries where female children have always been seen as a burden rather than a blessing.

In the United States, she says, where fertility clinics can separate male and female chromosomes, 75 per cent of prospective parents are requesting girls compared with 65 per cent in the 1990s.

The inventor and marketer of this process, biologist Ronald Ericsson, has this to say: "Did male dominance exist? Of course it existed. But it seems to be gone now. And the era of the firstborn son is totally gone ...

"Women live longer than men. They do better in this economy. More of'em graduate from college. They go into space and do everything men do, and sometimes they do it a whole lot better.

"I mean, hell, get out of the way - these females are going to leave us males in the dust," says Ericsson.

So let's take a look at some of the American trends Rosin uses to build her argument, most of which are already apparent here in New Zealand where women complain at the paucity of suitable partners and where females outperform males throughout the education system.

Women dominate today's colleges and professional schools: for every two men who will receive a BA this year - the minimum requirement, in most cases, for an affluent life - three women will.

Women now hold 51.4 per cent of managerial and professional jobs - up from 26.1 per cent in 1980.

They make up 54 per cent of all accountants and hold about half of all banking and insurance jobs.

About a third of America's physicians are now women, as are 45 per cent of associates in law firms - and both those percentages are rising fast.

Women now earn 60 per cent of master's degrees, about half of all law and medical degrees, and 42 per cent of all MBAs.

In a stark reversal since the 1970s, men are now more likely than women to hold only a high-school diploma.

And increasing numbers of women - unable to find men with a similar income and education - are forgoing marriage altogether.

In 1970, 84 per cent of women aged 30 to 44 were married; now 60 per cent are.

Writes Rosin: "Whether boys have changed or not, we are well past the time to start trying some experiments.

"It is fabulous to see girls and young women poised for success in the coming years.

"But allowing generations of boys to grow up feeling rootless and obsolete is not a recipe for a peaceful future."

At least she got that right.

Who wants to live in a human hive where men are the drones, presided over by a swarm of queen bees?

garth.george@hotmail.com

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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