May 2 2014
Save the Male: The U.K. Has a Masculinity Crisis
An article in the (London) Spectator reports that workers in Swansea are going to receive back pay to make up for years of gender discrimination. The twist: it’s the male workers who will receive the back pay to compensate for what the court says has been gender discrimination against men.
The article is headlined “Save the Male, Britain’s Crisis of Masculinity,” and in it author Isabel Hardman argues that, while women are doing well in terms of employment and education, men in the U. K. are falling behind. This, of course, is the same phenomenon that Christina Hoff Sommers, Helen Smith, and Kay Hymowitz have noticed in the U.S.
In fact, in modern Britain, girls are beating the boys at every stage of life — right up until they leave the workplace to have children. The new inequality in Britain seems to start at birth: government data published in November on children under five found girls to be outperforming boys in every one of the official early learning goals, which include listening and attention, understanding, reading, writing, technology and moving and handling.
Girls seem to glide through primary school, while boys trudge. Seven-year-old boys are 7 per cent less likely to reach the expected level in reading than girls. By 11 years old, the gap is eight percentage points. And it keeps yawning wider the older the children get: at 13 it’s 12 per cent; by GCSE, for achievement at grades A* to C in English, the gap is 14 percentage points. While 66 per cent of girls achieve five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C or equivalent, only 56 per cent of boys manage the same.
They have also, in recent years, wiggled their way along the pay tightrope. Median annual hourly pay for women in their twenties is £10.60, and for men it’s £10.57.
Interestingly, according the Spectator article, this shifts when women decide to have children. This of course means that women take time off from their careers:
But it’s also a scandal that nowadays men seem to do well only when women disappear, often reluctantly, from the office.
I don’t know if I am correct in detecting a smidgen of a suggestion that government step in and do something to make childcare more inexpensive so that women can stay in the workplace. These are problems and decisions for families. But the overall article is fascinating.
Hardman takes note of things we’ve been concerned about at IWF. She observes that men in advertisements are often presented as “overweight buffoons” and that men are suddenly developing eating disorders.
The U.K.’s masculinity crisis sounds a lot like what is happening in the U.S. It is ironic that the Democrats are still on the “war on women” bit when clearly we women enjoy unprecedented opportunities, while men and boys are in trouble. But we all know what the “war on women” really is: nothing more than a political ploy to rally the Democratic base. Meanwhile, what the U.S. really faces is a masculinity crisis.
I urge you to read the entire article.