“What if modern society is simply better suited to women?” This question was posed by the Atlantic’s Hanna Rosin and then addressed in a Newsweek cover article. Both articles focus on the rise of women in the workforce, resulting in more economic power and increased range of choices for women today. This is a situation that has been evolving, and women’s roles have changed significantly in the last 30 years, but we seem to have hit a tipping point. The main difference is that, when one looks ahead, the cumulative impact of these changes will only increase in the future.
Consider these facts stated in the articles:
- For the first time, women now hold a majority of the nation’s jobs.
- More women are outpacing men in earning college degrees.
- Women now earn 60 percent of master’s degrees, about half of all law and medical degrees, and 42 percent of all M.B.A.s.
- Of the job categories forecasted to grow the most in the next decade in the U.S., most are occupied primarily by women.
If women are better positioned for the future, one key question is how relationships between men and women will evolve. Women that we talk to, both in our work and personal lives, want to share their lives with a partner and still typically see that as the ideal. Even if the economic drivers may no longer demand it, the emotional needs are still there.
What I found most resonant in the Newsweek article was the idea that this is not a zero-sum game. Because women seem to be winning, this doesn’t necessarily have to mean that men are losing. If the gender roles can evolve in a way improves satisfaction with ourselves and our relationships, then everyone wins.
Maybe the opportunity is to stop thinking of this situation as a gender role reversal and look at it as more of a role blend. What this will ultimately look like and how it will play out, we can’t know for sure yet. But the one thing we do know for sure is that more change is coming, and coming fast.