Welcome to the “He-cession”

April 17, 2009

As men bear the brunt of the economic downturn, could the so-called “he-cession” hold a silver lining for the opposite sex?

Men make up 82 percent of all recessionary job losses in the United States, according to a recent New York Times article, mostly due to declines in traditionally male fields like construction, where the unemployment rate skyrocketed from to 21 percent in March, from 12 percent a year earlier.

The unemployment rate for adult men was 8.8 percent in March compared to 7 percent for adult women.

Male-dominated Wall Street lost 3,100 workers in March 2009 alone, depleting New York City’s most important employer to just 169,200 workers, the state’s Labor Department records show.

Women are picking up the slack, with many finding themselves as the sole breadwinners for their families — although the jobs held by women are often lower-paying with fewer benefits.

Nasreen Mohammed, for example, works five days a week, 51 weeks a year, without sick days or health benefits.

She runs a small day care business out of her home in Milpitas, Calif., and recently expanded her services to include after-school care. The business brings in about $30,000 annually, she says, far less than the $150,000 her husband earned in the marketing and sales job he lost over a year ago. “It’s peanuts,” she says.

Has the disparity of job losses given rise to what Maria Shriver calls “A Woman’s Nation”?

In a piece for the Huffington Post, Shriver wrote of her new venture to catalogue this new “seismic shift” and the potential opportunities it holds for a shift in women’s roles.

“’A Woman’s Nation’ will be a multi-year, action-oriented project, focused on capturing an accurate and up-to-date portrait of the American woman and developing next steps to remove barriers to her success.”

“A journalist by trade, I look forward to taking ‘A Woman’s Nation’ on the road – We will host a series of roundtables with men and women on the front lines of this economic and cultural shift, and conduct frank and factual interviews with cultural icons and women leaders about their experiences and recommendations.”

Will the recession break down sex-based barriers and the lead to the continuing evolution of women in the workforce, or are women the next minority to suffer? Leave your prediction in the comments section.

2 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

I never quite thought about it this way. the numbers are still small(relatively speaking)but the woman is set to continue being a breadwinner.

Posted by Stephen W. Ruhohi | Report as abusive

[...] Writing for Reuters, Ashleigh Patterson asked: [...]

Its not really just a he-cession in terms of debt, just in terms of employment. More women have run up personal debt, and far more women have sub-prime mortgages: http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm?a id=3891

With mass layoffs, employers are afraid to layoff women. Citigroup recently laid-off a disproportionate number of women, and was immediately slapped with gender discrimination charges which will turn into a class action: http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/cas e/citigroup-gender-discrimination-class- action.html?ref=rss
With huge potential exposure and legal costs related to even bogus gender discrimination claims, companies may be rational to believe it makes better financial sense to keep unproductive women on thee payroll than to retain productive guys.
Its not just a he-cession, but rather a he-cline – as in decline of our economy and civilization. China, India, and other up-and-coming economic powers are not saddled with such foolishness. Guyinism takes hold soon, they will rule the future, and, despite all the employment advantages women in this country have, including but not limited to preferential hiring and school admission practices, many more attractive American women will likely seek to emigrate to marry guys from those countries, where the birth rate for guys is far higher than for women due to selective abortion. The rest of us will be stuck here cleaning up the mess.