Felix Salmon

Man-cession datapoint of the day

By Felix Salmon
October 6, 2009

Chris Swann reports that, yes, men have suffered 75% of the job losses in this recession. But look at the last recession: they suffered 86% of the job losses in that one. And the recession before that? More than 98% of the job losses. He concludes:

As the slide in manufacturing and production tails off, male workers can expect some relief. The problems of many women in the workforce are far more ingrained and harder to deal with. Man-cession aside, it’s still a man’s world.

The worlds where I live my professional life — both finance and the blogosphere/punditocracy — are massively overweight men; that’s an unambiguously bad thing. Women are more sensible than men, and less likely to take extreme risks. If we’d had more women in charge of the global financial system, I suspect that the most egregious excesses of the past decade would never have occurred. So if we must have a recession, then a man-cession is exactly what we need.

8 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

“If we’d had more women in charge of the global financial system, I suspect that the most egregious excesses of the past decade would never have occurred.”

I doubt that. I don’t think gender is a factor, women can be in as much denial as men when it comes to living beyond their means and taking risks. I doubt that all those suburban housewives who paid for their over-sized SUVs with home equity loans had to be talked into it by their husbands. It’s a flaw in the human (or at least American) mindset.

Posted by KenG | Report as abusive

there’s gotta be a statistic out there specifying the percentage of working women/men who lost their job.

Posted by aich | Report as abusive

The word “man-cession” is so awkward. What about “he-cession”?

Posted by Kwa C R | Report as abusive

Reverse sexism (ie, saying that if women were in charge of everything the world would be a safer or more peaceful place) is just as bad as the old dinosaur stereotypes (eg, women are hopeless at traditionally male roles). Individuals are individuals and should be treated as such no matter what reproductive organs they carry.

Posted by Moya | Report as abusive

The 4-5 point male edge in average IQ goes a long way in explaining male over-representation in “hard” fields. Nature is sexist, sad to say.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

All studies I’ve ever seen show that women trend more risk-averse, men more risk-seeking. While I’m not sure that’s any improvement in the abstract, it sure would have been an improvement in the current situation to improve that mix. And of course, finance education/careers likely select for risk-seekers (of whatever gender).

Uh “Mike,” I haven’t heard of any “4-5 point male edge in average IQ,” do you have a source for that? Is that correcting for outliers like Marilyn Vos Savant or not? And if men have higher IQ on average and higher IQ correlates with “‘hard’ fields,” why are women medical school students now just about equally represented with male students? Have they dropped the organic chemistry requirement?

You know that until about 20 years ago, most lawyers were men, right? Was law formerly a “hard” field and now it no longer is so that women have been able to slip in?

Posted by SelenesMom | Report as abusive

Whether women are more responsible than men or not depends, in my opinion, on the men and women in question. Who’s to say what would have happened with more women in power in the corporate world? Who’s to say whether the “glass ceiling” has been removed or reinforced? If we focus on ethical leadership we can expect women and others to be treated more fairly in the corporate world. We will never have an ideal world, but that should not prevent us from striving for excellence.

Maxwell Pinto, Business Author: leadership, ethics, teamwork, women in the workforce, trade unions,etc.
http://www.strategicbookpublishing.com/M anagement-TidbitsForTheNewMillenium.html


I’m unable to follow your link (stupid work firewall), but I’m gonna have to go ahead and disagree with your “women are more sensible” comment. Maybe it’s just my bad experiences with girlfriends talking, but the most irrational people I’ve ever known were all women.


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