What percentage of your clients are males? What type of conclusion if any have you drawn from this statistic? Very often, I read articles and reports on the disparity between male and female numbers in universities, managerial positions and even church membership. Recently, while browsing the magazine section in a book store, I came across the July 2010 issue of The Atlantic with the theme The End of Men. In the feature article, Hanna Rosin shared that “Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. Most managers are now women too. And for every two men who get a college degree this year, three women will do the same.”
Some authors say a revolution has taken place. Still others imply that there is a battle of the sexes or that the gender tables have been turned. These findings suggest that women are outperforming men in most areas (that matter). Now we are being told that a growing number of professions such as engineering, medical doctors, automobile mechanics, and religious ministers; college majors; and sports which were once dominated by men are seeing an increased number of female participants.
These statistics are so gloomy I tend to ignore some of them. What is the purpose of many of these statistics other than discovering problems and then finding someone or something to blame for them? I feel as though I have been hearing since my pre-teen years that 50% of all marriages end up in divorce. That rate has not changed much since and by all accounts seems to be heading north. I have also come to realize that some statistics also engender fear. Have you had any of your clients or even family members or friends share their reluctance to marry because they would not like to be a statistic (i.e. part of the 50% of marriages that fail)? I have. I will share my views, experience and some research on this issue in another post.
It appears women are getting all the attention for their well-earned achievements while men are being bashed for their supposed underachievement. I suppose my question or concern is, is this intended to motivate men or intoxicate them with thoughts of defeat? If it’s the latter, in another 50 years we may very well witness the dawn of the “masculine movement” akin to the “second wave” of the Feminist Movement 50 years ago.
Are women really taking over? I doubt it. Are men falling behind and losing interest in things that matter? It sure seems that way at times. I do believe the difference between accomplishments of the sexes may be more related to motivation than skill or ability. For example, women have always been thought of as the best caregivers. They are the ones most likely to feed and change baby. Is this because men cannot perform these tasks, lack interest, or are they simply not motivated because of being told that is how things have always been done?
I have seen male clients wanting to fight for their marriage but were reluctant in seeking support because they were opposed to the idea of receiving counseling services. Why? It does not seem manly to ask for help. In some cases, it took threats from a female, generally their wife to get them in front of a counselor. And even then, you may find them almost in complete silence for at least the first session. Through motivation and a sense of individual responsibility, men will commit themselves to accepting their roles and following through on a path to success in their family life, career, and even social contribution with a sense of pride and accomplishment. What am I saying? Bashing men or comparing them with their female counterparts will rarely produce positive results.
Please let us encourage, empower and support men – those who are our clients, colleagues, family, friends and even strangers. Let them know that they are not a number. I have no doubt that there are still strong, positive, real men around. Rather than pointing out all the bad things men do, I suggest we do the opposite and identify and celebrate the good. I believe this will have a positive ripple effect in families, work places, society and in counseling rooms.
Pete Saunders is a graduate student at Capella University. He also writes a weekly blog and conducts a weekly video interview on manhood at razorsanddiapers.com