Inspired by a chat on facebook about why we seem to focus on empowering women instead of empowering everyone, I did a little digging and found this TED talk. Hanna Rosin is the author of the book "The End of Men - and the Rise of Women". She argues that the new economy requires different skills. The marketplace has shifted from a manufacturing to a service-based economy, and traditional male characteristics of size and strength simply don't matter as much anymore. Instead, skills like focus, communication, and ability to navigate a fluid workplace are in higher demand. Future leaders will have to know how to foster creativity, create teams, and listen - and according to Rosin, these are all skills that come more naturally to women. Looking through the type lens, I can't help but wonder if future leadership skills will be more closely associated with Feeling function-based behaviors. Generally speaking about 75 % of women have an F-preference, compared to about 75 % of men reporting Thinking, if I'm not mistaken.
"Men are the new ball and chain"
You can't change thousands of years of gender roles over night. Even now that we're beginning to talk about them, the process is still scary and painful. Women have been outperforming men for a few years, e.g. in terms of achieving college degrees. Yes, there is still a wage gap and women's representation in C-suite jobs isn't where it should be to properly show equal representation.
But men's self-image may be impeding them from adapting to the new requirements. Men are more likely to see themselves as providers and less likely to get their butts to college to re-train or enhance their skill-sets. Rosin even argues that it begins as early as childhood; she cites a "boy crisis" where boys do worse in school than girls. In a short video her own 9-year-old daughter explains why that is: boys simply don't listen or follow instruction! The result: Rosin sees women going forward to higher positions, being the primary breadwinner, while men stay at home. More than that, she cites statistics of multiple countries where the desire for a first-born son is on a steady decline.
What are your experiences with boys' and men's performance? Are you seeing your middle-management / manufacturing jobs disappearing? Are your executives urging you to get trained in the art of creativity, innovation, and communication to enhance your chances for success?
Image by FaceMePLS, Flickr, Creative Commons License.