What I Read This Week: 3/28/13 – 4/3/13

3 Apr

end of men

The End of Men and the Rise of Women by Hanna Rosin

First of all, when you work in an office where you are the only female employee amongst a sea of dude oil engineers, be ready to get teased mercilessly when you pull this book out of your backpack. They’re just intimidated.

I’m a huge Hanna Rosin fan, mostly from her work on the Slate XX Podcast, and I have been dying to read this book for a few months. I think like most women in their late twenties, I have seen both sides of this issue.

On the one hand, I am in a graduate program that is probably 85% female. I know that more women go to college. I, like many of my female friends, have work in higher positions than my male partners, and I’ve made more money than they have at times. I don’t blink when I have a female doctor.

And yet, most of my professors in my undergraduate program were male. Male politicians are endlessly arguing over womens’ health. And, even if it seems to happen a lot, that whole making more money than your male partner always seems to add tension to a relationship that wouldn’t be there if the roles were reversed.

What gives?

Hanna Rosin argues for the rise of women and the slow decline of the male position while looking at middle-class Americans hit by the recession (the loss of manufacturing jobs is a whole lot harder on men who can’t seem to adjust as well as women can), the astronomical rise of women in higher education, and the new type of marriage in which men and women switch off being breadwinners. She even looks abroad to South Korea, where women have moved from being coffee-fetchers in offices to executives who work 15 hour days in just a decade. In looking at these new opportunities for women, she also delineates the problems that come up, especially with work hours and child care.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s extremely readable while still touching on issues that are extremely relevant…well, at least relevant to this 27 year old, over-educated, single woman.

Still, I would’ve liked to see a bit more attention paid to the injustices that still are very present. Yes, I may make more than my twenty-something, childless male counterparts, but I probably won’t be at 40 for lots of complicated reasons. And why is it that men still seem to hold the political floor so firmly in America?

But all in all, a thought-provoking read.

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