Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why wouldn't you choose a girl?

I just finished reading the article 'The End of Men' by Hanna Rosin published in the July/August 2010 edition of 'the Atlantic' magazine. Rosin tells the story of biologist Ronald Ericsson who in the 1970s developed a method for choosing the sex of a baby. At that time most couples wanted to ensure that they would have a boy baby boy as girls were generally considered 'second class citizens'. Now, apparently at the approximately two dozen clinics that use Ericsson's process in America, more couples are choosing to have a girl instead of a boy. And according to Ericsson, in the 1970s, it was the man who made the decision as to the sex of the baby and now it is the woman who makes the decision.

What is causing this shift? The author discusses the the changes in our society that seem to indicate that women are becoming the dominant sex in the workforce, educational institutions and home. In fact, women now make up the majority of the workforce for the first time in US history. Women also make up 60 percent of students in institutions of higher education. Women are the decision makers for 85% of all household purchases. (To read the entire article, go to

Rosin suggests that the modern, postindustrial economy is more congenial to women than men and that this economy is indifferent to men's size and strength. Further, she states that social intelligence, open communication and the ability to sit still and focus are more valuable in today's work environment ~ all traits that are more natural to women than men. So if one is choosing the sex of a baby, it's reasonable to ask 'Why wouldn't you choose a girl?'. Current data indicates that a girl has a greater chance than a boy of being successful in today's workforce.

Rosin also discusses how men are generally portrayed in commercials. My husband and I have this discussion frequently...why are men always portrayed as 'clueless' in commercials. Women and children are smarter or know the right answer. Are we going overboard in suggesting in our media that men are not as smart as women?

I'd be interested in your thoughts and experiences on this topic. Are women becoming the dominant force in the workplace in your community? Are we going overboard in presenting women as smarter than men in the media? What are the implications to women leaders who work to help other women in their leadership journey? What are the implications to you?

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