THE WEAKER SEX

The “cognitive separation” may be hitting men harder than women.


Seems like there’s been a slew of articles recently about the growing gap between men and women in the US workforce.  Also seems (to me) that it fits in pretty well with my idea about the growing “cognitive separation” – between those people who, for example, can resist new media distractions and use the technology to become more productive, and those who are more vulnerable to such distractions and become less productive.

Here, for example, is Hanna Rosin on “the End of Men”:

…what if the economics of the new era are better suited to women?

Once you open your eyes to this possibility, the evidence is all around you. It can be found, most immediately, in the wreckage of the Great Recession, in which three-quarters of the 8 million jobs lost were lost by men. The worst-hit industries were overwhelmingly male … [but the] recession merely revealed—and accelerated—a profound economic shift that has been going on for at least 30 years, and in some respects even longer.

Earlier this year, for the first time in American history, the balance of the workforce tipped toward women, who now hold a majority of the nation’s jobs. The working class, which has long defined our notions of masculinity, is slowly turning into a matriarchy, with men increasingly absent from the home and women making all the decisions. Women dominate today’s colleges and professional schools—for every two men who will receive a B.A. this year, three women will do the same. Of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most in the next decade in the U.S., all but two are occupied primarily by women. Indeed, the U.S. economy is in some ways becoming a kind of traveling sisterhood: upper-class women leave home and enter the workforce, creating domestic jobs for other women to fill.

The postindustrial economy is indifferent to men’s size and strength. The attributes that are most valuable today—social intelligence, open communication, the ability to sit still and focus—are, at a minimum, not predominantly male.  [my italics]

Rosin doesn’t really delve into psych-related statistics, but the fact is that men are overrepresented by around 3 to 1 in ADHD (an impairment of the capacity for selective attention) and also seem disproportionately likely to look at web porn and presumably to become addicted to it.  So women might not only be better adapted for modern labor market opportunities – they might also have better cognitive resources for resisting the multimedia distractions of a modern work/living environment.

THE WEAKER SEX