I taught college courses for about twenty years – technology, management, creative writing, philosophy, English. Mostly undergraduate, but some MBA courses, too, and as I entered my classroom to begin teaching in one of those, I noticed there were like eight women and only one man. These were working, white-collar professionals. As we went around the room with introductions, it became apparent all of them were striving to get ahead in their careers. That’s why they were taking night classes like my Mangaement Information Systems course.
It wasn’t an isolated occurrence. I saw it in other classes at the junior and senior level, too. Some were all women. Then a noticed a few years ago that almost everyone I dealt with in publishing was female. And about that time, Sheryl Sandberg wrote her book, Lean In, and for business the glass ceiling shattered into a billion fragments and the light poured in.
The subtitle of Sandberg’s book said it all: “Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” Women, across the boards, were in the ascendancy.
They definitely were, and are, all while the men weren’t paying much attention. If you question it, look who just got appointed to the Supreme Court: Ketanji Brown Jackson, who made the declaration, “I have a seat at the table now, and I’m ready to work.” (my emphasis) Compare that remark with anything Clarence Thomas ever said – or did.
And if you seek more proof of it, read David Brooks’ op-ed in the New York Times. It’s a brisk summation of this massive shift. The title is “The Crisis of Men and Boys.” Stop and just think about that title. Why is it a crisis? For whom is it a crisis? What does a crisis entail? How should “we” deal with it? It’s very provocative title, no matter what your gender or proclivities. Click on the link and you’ll get one pretty specific point of view from the accompanying photograph.
Brooks based his article on a new book, Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do about It, written by Rivard V. Reeves, a journalist, social researcher and father of three boys. (The cover of this book is so dreadful I am loath to display it.) So yeah, he’s got some skin in the game and encourages all of us to follow suit. But should we? Haven’t we seen enough of how the testosterone-fueled male regards life, love and the pursuit of happiness? It’s been this way for millennia. The Greek playright Aristophanes wrote Lysistrata to (playfully) protest male dominance; the women conspire to withhold their sexual favors until the males stop making war. Quite honestly, I’m more than willing to hand the reins of society to the women – business, healthcare, art, politics, culture – right on down the line.