The Economist has an essay on one of the biggest social and demographic changes in history (excerpt):
…Tallulah may be an extreme example, but it is part of a story playing out across America and much of the rest of the rich world. In almost all societies a lot of men enjoy unwarranted advantages simply because of their sex. Much has been done over the past 50 years to put this injustice right; quite a bit still remains to be done.
The dead hand of male domination is a problem for women, for society as a whole—and for men like those of Tallulah. Their ideas of the world and their place in it are shaped by old assumptions about the special role and status due to men in the workplace and in the family, but they live in circumstances where those assumptions no longer apply. And they lack the resources of training, of imagination and of opportunity to adapt to the new demands. As a result, they miss out on a lot, both in economic terms and in personal ones.
For those at the top, James Brown’s observation that it is a man’s, man’s, man’s world still holds true…Yet the fact that the highest rungs have male feet all over them is scant comfort for the men at the bottom.
Technology and trade mean that rich countries have less use than they once did for workers who mainly offer muscle…But the real money is in brain work, and here many men are lagging behind. Women outnumber them on university campuses in every region bar South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In the OECD men earn only 42% of degrees. Teenage boys in rich countries are 50% more likely than girls to flunk all three basic subjects in school: maths, reading and science.
The economic marginalisation this brings erodes family life. Women who enjoy much greater economic autonomy than their grandmothers did can afford to be correspondingly pickier about spouses, and they are not thrilled by husbands who are just another mouth to feed….
…There is no sugar-coating this: many blue-collar men no longer have the sort of earnings or prospects that will make women want to marry them…It is pointless to make plans with someone you fear will sponge off you for a while and then vanish.
It’s a long essay, but well worth your time to read.
Can’t happen here you say? Here’s the male to female ratios based on the latest tertiary education enrolment data (2013; Source: National Education Statistics 2013):
Generally speaking, more women than men enter tertiary education, and the ratio is skewed towards public universities. In other words, apart from graduate/PhD, the higher the education level, the more women enter, enrol, and graduate. Worse, the ratio of women generally increases as you go from entry to graduation – men are more likely to drop out.
There’s still a glass ceiling at the very top of many professions, but Malaysian society is undergoing a sea change in relationship between the sexes at work and at home, in the composition and earnings of the labour force, and in our politics. How that plays out in our hitherto patriarchal society would be interesting to watch.