Men the Minority (in Education)

Glenn Burger submitted an article about his theories on why so few men are in today's colleges and universities. Glenn's premise is that the physical demands of "masculine" kinds of blue-collar labor take away a lot of energy that is needed to get a degree, while the jobs that women often take (or are able to get due to discrimination against draftable men) put them on track to improve their education and skills both inside and outside the workplace. Click "Read More" below for Glenn's interesting essay.

Men the Minority (in Education)

According to recently released statistics, colleges and universities in North America now have an undergrad population which is 56% female.

I believe that there is a reason why, increasingly, North American
society is educating women and that reason is remarkably provocative and has a strongly anti-male component.

There is a direct relationship between employment and education. Where you
work can, and often will, have a major impact on whether or not you acquire
higher education.

If, for example, you work in the straight days, upwardly mobile, skills acquiring, stable, secure, generally non-physically demanding white collar
employment sector, your chances of furthering your education, particularly
at night, can be quite high. This is especially true of white collar workers in large, urban centers who have immediate access to colleges and
universities and, of course, is less true of white collar workers who work
in more rural areas.

In contrast, if you work in the physically demanding, frequently
shiftwork, generally boring and non-skills acquiring blue collar sector your chances of acquiring higher education can be greatly reduced.
It would seem evident to me that there would be a great many more white collar employees furthering their education at night - or at any other time - than there are blue collar ones doing the same.

To my way of thinking, this reality has enormous relevance to an issue
that has bedeviled me for over 25 years, that issue being gender bias in
employment. It has been my considered belief for many of those years that
many employers have been hiring and training only women for skills
acquiring, white collar work because women are not vulnerable to military
conscription in the event of war.

Just prior to WWII, many corporations in North America had substantial
numbers of male white collar workers. In Canada's banking system, for
example, 65% of the employees were male in 1939, just before the outbreak of hostilities. By 1943, the banks had closed almost half of the banking system due to lack of staff, as those male employees left for the war.

At the end of the war, employers implemented draconian anti-male hiring policies for the white collar employment sector. Obviously women could do
the work and just as obviously they would not be vulnerable to military
conscription if WWIII or any other large conflict occurred.

I have documentation in my possession that shows that these hiring
policies were so successful that, by 1987, fully 95% of the white collar staff and supervisory cohort in Canada's banks was female, contrasting with the much smaller in number managerial and executive ranks being almost 98% male. What happened at Canada's banks is typical of what happened in the entire white collar employment sector in both Canada and the United States since the end of The Second World War.

This startling division in gender is understandable. Those executive
males were not going to give women all the staff and supervisory positions because of their invulnerability to conscription and then give them most of the executive positions too, so the executive ranks remained almost exclusively male.

Ergo, white collar staff in North America is, and has been, almost
exclusively female for generations. If white collar workers are mostly women (and they are); and if white collar workers are more likely than blue collar workers to partake of higher education (seems logical); then the recent statistics showing that 56% of undergrads in tertiary education are female (and that percentage is continuing to rise) should be readily seen as being understandable and shouldn't come as any great surprise.

I think that, just as North American women who work in the white collar sector have gotten stuck on themselves and enormously impressed with
themselves because of where they work, North American men confined to the
blue collar sector have gotten down on themselves. Male opinion of self
seems to be: "I'm just a (1) cop, (2) fireman, (3) bus driver, (4) trucker,
(5) mechanic, (6) mill worker, (7) refinery operator, (8) machinist," etc, etc. "How would getting a higher education benefit me?" And "How would I go
about getting it with the often crummy hours that I work?"

It doesn't seem to be likely to many of these men that higher
education would do them much good. In other words, most working class men, regardless of intelligence and motivation, are not allowed to be anything except blue collar workers and to the detriment of many of them, they accept it and adapt to it. They don't head to the institutions of higher learning to benefit their lot because they don't think that their lot can be benefited.

In contrast, women are not at all down on themselves because of their
skills acquiring, white collar jobs and have a much better feeling about
their job prospects and future employment opportunities. Tertiary education
CAN lead to even better jobs for women and it is well within reach for most. Wisely for them, many of them grab the chance to further their education and this readiness, I maintain, is being reflected in those tertiary educational institutions now having 56% of their under grads nationwide being female.

And that percentage is growing.

It seems evident to me that men are being pushed aside. First, from
white collar employment because employers don't want to spend money to train men and then lose that expense to the military (and if you disagree just go and look at the staffing levels at most white collar corporations) and second, from the institutions of higher learning. The "second" here is directly related, as I said, to the first.

The question that comes most readily to my mind is, "What are we going
to do about it?" Complaining to media seems fruitless. Media is big business. Complaining to other business interests is even more naive. That seems like complaining to the coyote about raiding the hen house. It has been my experience that complaining to politicians can have a
considerable impact. Initially, I didn't think that it would, but it has.

Also, promulgating this view of gender bias against men on the internet also has worthwhile possibilities.

Obviously, we are going to have to do something. If we don't, we are
going to have a society of well educated women (most working in the white collar sector) and poorly educated men. That may please many of the women's groups, but it does not bode well for society at all.

Glenn R. Burger,

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