Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Mancession" Speaks for Itself

In a recent Newsweek article, "What Mancession?"issues faced by both genders in today's economy are revealed.  As the article states,the term “Mancession” was coined by an economics professor this spring in an attempt to describe the growing gap between male and female unemployment.

“By mid-July, several media outlets from Foreign Policy took the term one step further, calling it the death of the macho, or the he-cession. If you Google mancession now, it'll turn up 13,500 hits.”

The article recognizes the unemployment gap to be the largest since World War II.  It’s true that men have been hurt by the recession, but as the article points out women have suffered as well.  Throughout the article author Nancy Cook discusses the differences between men and women in the workforce.  Specifically,  Cook discusses how women have a tendency to choose less risky careers, have fewer benefits and lack retirement savings plans or pensions.  Women’s wages are still lower than that of their male counterparts and some hope that the recession will force people to “rethink paid employment.”

Cook goes on to tell the story of Greg Jimmie, a vice president at a medical manufacturing company, who lost his job in late December.  Although Jimmie's wife has a stable job as a cardiovascular nurse she receives a significantly lower income than Jimmie did.  As a result the family has had to cut back on all unnecessary expenses.  Jimmie has also taken over most of the housework.  The shift from a stay-at-home mom to a "token dad" isn't easy, but appears to be growing more and more common.

In the following Prendismo clip Jean Hill discusses social norms in corporate America and decisions commonly faced by both men and women. 

"I think you actually need another generation where the kids have seen Mommy working because Mommy wants to work."  - Jean Hill Executive Director, Morgan Stanley

It's interesting how gender inequality issues differ internationally.  In the United States as the media focuses on the recession and issues of unequal pay or lack of benefits other parts of the world haven't even reached that level.  In the following clip Sheryl WuDunn discusses gender inequality in developing countries.  It really makes one stop and think about how far our society has come and how far others still have to go.

"In the rest of the developing world it's [gender inequality] a matter of life and death." - Sheryl WuDunn, Trustee, Cornell University

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