The New Gender Gap: Are Men Already Obsolete?

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In a triumphant (or terrifying, depending on where you stand) recent article in the Atlantic, Hanna Rosin declared the End of Men. Women are seriously outpacing men from elementary to graduate school; old patriarchal structures are crumbling; unemployment is gutting men much more than women, perhaps because today’s workforce favors traditionally feminine skills over traditionally masculine ones; marriages are dissolving, and women are increasingly raising kids alone…. The article itself goes on at length justifying its premise that men are becoming obsolete. “What if the modern, postindustrial economy is simply more congenial to women than to men?” Rosin muses. (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, Rosin points out.)

To some extent, that would be good news for our fair city — because we’ve got a lot of women here. Both Baltimore-Towson and Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick make the top ten list of cities with the greatest gender gaps (Baltimore’s got 15.7 percent more women than men; B/G/F has a gender gap of nearly 17 percent). But many of Baltimore’s workers are employed by Johns Hopkins, and another sizable chunk work for the U.S. government — neither known as bastions of feminist power.

In fact, Hopkins has gotten quite a bit of flak over the years for being actively or passively neglectful to its women faculty and staff members. A 2004 report pointed out that while grad programs were well-stocked with women, the percentage of women faculty remained stagnant. At the time, only 18 percent of Hopkins’ full professors were women, and the school ranked last among its peers in percentage for female executives. Another recent report described the gender culture on campus as “pernicious,” “hostile,” and “detrimental.” Since then, the school has formed new committees and passed a few resolutions, but it takes a long time for culture to change.

So, what’s your take? Are women going to be the dominant sex in the near future (or do you feel like they already are)? Where does that leave Johns Hopkins — and Baltimore in general?



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