Men underachieving? So be it


A recent issue of Maclean’s featured a story titled “Are we raising our boys to be underachieving men?” with the idea that presently men are growing up to be less successful, educated and motivated. Women, on the other hand, will inevitably rule the world. Okay, the last part may not exactly be true, but statistics do show that women are less likely to drop out of high school; they dominate school campuses and professional fields such as law and medicine and experience lower unemployment rates than men.

Yet some experts are worried by this shift among the sexes even when decades ago many women didn’t even attend school, let alone work. They argue that the gender gap or “demographic bomb” is a reason to put programs designed to encourage female CEOs on the backburner, otherwise it is unlikely that we will benefit from male talent in these positions and elsewhere.

Now it would be easy for me, a female, to react to these experts rather angrily and think, “Well of course they would be afraid of promoting power among women, they’re all patriarchal, sexist men themselves!” Many feminists would likely go on to say that if the gender gap were reversed and women continued to be oppressed in society, we would hardly hear a peep about the need to change it.

The pursuit of gender equality is admirable regardless of which sex may be disadvantaged in society, but at the same time and especially in this case, adherence to the idea of survival of the fittest is most appropriate.

If we are looking for the most driven and qualified individuals to serve as CEOs, doctors and lawyers, one of the last things society needs to worry about is whether both sexes are equally represented.

When I see a doctor, the concern is to be diagnosed accurately and to be prescribed the right medication that will eventually make me better regardless of whether that doctor is male or female.

The same goes for lawyers; a client would rather win a case with the help of a lawyer that was prepared and experienced enough regardless of that lawyer’s gender.

Of course, the need for equal opportunity is not being dismissed, as both men and women should have the same opportunities available to them in regards to the accessibility of education and employment. However, once they have entered the [even] playing field, gender representation should have little to no influence in deciding who succeeds and who fails.

If studies show that proportionately more women work harder and are more driven, should they not be rewarded in the job market? If this same trend were evident among men, then kudos should be given to them as well.

So, where constant competitiveness drives most economies, individuals who work for what they want should be rewarded, despite the call for equal gender representation. If this means that women will continue to constitute the majority of post-secondary students, are more likely to graduate from high school and experience lower unemployment, then so be it. However, if men are up for the challenge and realize that they too can compete, then naturally there should be nothing to stop them from reversing this trend.

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