Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Workforce of Women

Since my previous post on the advantages of being a woman in today’s economy, there’s been quite a lot of media buzz surrounding the idea that women are poised to takeover the business world.

Indeed, women now make up the majority of the workforce. They’ve also weathered the recession far more successfully than men. Roughly three quarters of those who lost their job during the recession carried a Y chromosome.

In her recent cover story in The Atlantic entitled “The End of Men,” Hanna Rosin asks “what if modern postindustrial society is simply better suited to women?”

As Rosin points out, “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.”

This is, by and large, a consequence of the shift to a Participation Economy. Business success in today’s world depends on empathy and personal engagement with clients, consumers and employees. Technological innovation, particularly social networking, has given businesses incredibly powerful tools for doing this. But when it comes to forging meaningful relationships through empathy and social tactfulness, Rosin is correct that we were not all created equal.

This also explains the recent explosion in female entrepreneurs. As a recent Newsweek story observed:

"Between 1997 and 2002, female-led firms grew by nearly 20 percent, while overall firms grew by just 7 percent; by 2005, women represented more than a third of people involved in entrepreneurial activity, and the number of women-owned firms continues to grow at twice the rate of all U.S. firms."

Men will have to work harder to keep up with the throngs of talented women that now populate the workforce. The days of the “boys club” business are long gone, and we will be better off as a result.


Accidental MBA said...

While post world-war manufacturing era was pro-men based on a false "men have more physical ability" bias..post financial world war era will be pro-women..and the false bias behind that remains to be unraveled..in next two-three decades we will find some equilibrium..but corporations have a lot of work to do..a quick start can be having more women on executive and creative boards..

Anonymous said...

This shift in the workforce is less about merit and more about institutionalized feminism. For example, I worked for a woman who frequently criticized men. When I left, she told me that she wanted to replace me with a woman (and did). Does this sound like equality to you?

Elle Smith Fagan said...

"I don't WANNA be a dominant woman in the workforce!!! " It ruins EVERYTHING, unless it's "even-steven" !

I realize that sociology will power along like the pendulum, and that problems with a swing too far in one direction, will often result in a swing in other direction that is just as "overmuch", before it moderates. And then the problem is making sure it does not degenerate to lackluster low-energy activity.

Still, I have only this one life on earth and my son and daughter too, and their Father passed away.
I do not have half a century to wait for things to get more balanced and nicer!
I try to do each day as "even-steven" as possible and pray for the same for my children, so that the whole thing is a fine energy passage and worth its challenges.

Thanks for this story and this forum.

Elle Fagan