I read an interesting article today about employment and gender. For most people, the economy is not going well. It is especially bad for men. To be specific, 700,000 men lost jobs in the time period between November and April. In marked contrast, American women aged 20 and above gained 300,000 new jobs in the same period.
The main reason is based on sexism, but not in the sense that men are being targeted for termination and women are being recruited for job. The main reason is that men tend to dominate the employment fields that are being hardest hit by the current economic woes while women tend to be in fields that are growing (or at least not being hit as hard). For example, men are the majority in manufacturing jobs and those are not doing well. Women are the majority in health care and that field is doing quite well.
Of course, affirmative action and other gender based factors might also be relevant. However, the media tends to be less enthusiastic about covering sexism against men. Further, as I have noted in other blogs, female students are now the majority in higher education. This will (if it has not done so already) translate into better employment figures for women.
One irony of the current situation is that the professions that are doing well tend to be ones that are traditionally dominated by women. It could be argued that sexism is a factor in this situation, in that men often considered such jobs to be fit for women and not men. Now, this sexism is benefiting women in that they are more likely to be in such jobs and still more likely to seek them.
One possible outcome of this economic trend, if it endures, is that we might see many more men entering into fields that have traditionally been dominated by women. For example, I have male friends who are going into nursing because they know they can get (and keep) a job in that field. On the plus side, this could help further erase the “gender stigma” attached to some jobs. On the minus side, it might mean that more people will be competing for the same jobs and this won’t help the economy or employment.
On a related note, the American economy is, for most of us, in a rough phase. The very rich, as always, are doing great. Hillary and Obama (both very rich people) promise they will help the rest of us. But one wonders what they can really do.