Sunday, September 23, 2007

Old vs. New Tapes

From today's New York Times:

For the first time, women in their 20s who work full time in several American cities — New York, Chicago, Boston and Minneapolis — are earning higher wages than men in the same age range, according to a recent analysis of 2005 census data by Andrew Beveridge, a sociology professor at Queens College in New York.

For instance, the median income of women age 21 to 30 in New York who are employed full time was 17 percent higher than that of comparable men.

Professor Beveridge said the gap is largely driven by a gulf in education: 53 percent of women employed full time in their 20s were college graduates, compared with 38 percent of men. Women are also more likely to have graduate degrees. “They have more of everything,” Professor Beveridge said.

A lot of young women “are of two minds,” said Stephanie Coontz, director of research at the Council on Contemporary Families, a research organization. “On one hand, they’re proud of their achievements, and they think they want a man who shares house chores and child care. But on the other hand they’re scared by their own achievement, and they’re a little nervous having a man who won’t be the main breadwinner. These are old tapes running in their head: ‘This is how you get a man.’”

Bay Area residents, mark your calendars: On Wednesday, October 17, I'll be moderating a panel with Stephanie Coontz on the challenges faced by new parents, along with psychologists Philip and Carolyn Cowan, and psychotherapist Joshua Coleman. The event will start at 3 pm at the Lipman Room on the 8th floor of Barrows Hall, on the UC Berkeley campus. Barrows Hall is located off of Bancroft Way at Barrow Lane and Eshleman Road, on the south side of the Berkeley campus. Click here for a map, parking information, and directions to the Lipman Room.

This event will celebrate the release of Greater Good's Fall 2007 issue on “The 21st Century Family,” with contributions by Stephanie Coontz, Scott Coltrane, Ross Parke, Constance Ahrons, and me, writing about how today’s non-traditional parents overcome social isolation and build new communities. I'm still providing free copies of the issue to any blogger who pledges to review it online--send me a note at jeremyadamsmith (at)

1 comment:

chicago pop said...

This is a very disconcerting trend. Less because of women who are nervous about their newfound position of primary bread-winner -- there are worse problems -- than because of what it says about men, modern cultures of masculinity, and the failure of either to adapt to a modern world of high-skilled, education-based labor.

Der Spiegel ran a piece earlier this year that was followed up in the English media detailing the strange situation of several states of the former East Germany: a vast out-migration is occurring, and 2/3 of those leaving for the West are women. I can't think of a comparable, peace-time, gender differentiated migration since WWII. Why is this happening? Women are leaving to seek better employment opportunities abroad instead of marrying men at home. They are able to do this because they tend to be better educated than their male counterparts. These latter, in turn, are staying home, not working, living with mom, and joining Neo-Nazi parties. Not good.

A friend of mine who sees the trends reflected in the undergrad population of a private California
university attributes it to the neg. effect of two things: online porn and video games. Not sure if that is all that's going on, but something sure is.