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Is this the age of oestrogen?


A new book claims that the era of male dominance is finally over. Stylist’s Amy Grier investigates the rise of female superpower.

Imagine. It’s been a long but successful day of back-to-back meetings welcoming the tenth female member to the board. Post-work chat turns to the female US President’s visit to the UK and whether the old girl network at Westminster will welcome her reforms on gender equality to counteract new studies that show 68% of men believe they’ve been discriminated against in the work place. A television silently flashes images of the female Met Police commissioner receiving her CBE. Oh, and Minnie Mouse gets equal billing with Mickey.

This kind of reality may seem light years away but according to Hanna Rosin, the US author of The End Of Men And The Rise Of Women, one of the most controversial books to land on UK shelves since Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth (published in 1991) this world already exists. And if men don’t learn to adapt outside the traditional gender roles, women will soon rule the world. What’s not to like?

It’s a big claim, but supported by a huge amount of statistical evidence and case studies from across the United States, Rosin argues that in the three central spheres of modern life (the home, the workplace and the bedroom), women are overtaking men at a rate not witnessed by any previous generation.

And it’s not just American women. We might not get a European directive for the 40% female quota in the boardroom and the pay gap may be wider than it was last year, but in many areas in the UK – employment, academia, enterprise – we are storming ahead of the male of the species.

“The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates that, by 2015, 72% of all UK graduates will be women,” says Suzanne Doyle-Morris, author and founder of professional women’s website femalebreadwinners. com.

“We are poised for women to take a larger share of the bread-winning because UK society values brain over brawn.” In the areas in which we have choice – academia and entrepreneurship in particular – women are excelling. More women go to university than men and obtain better degrees. “Women are using enterprise and their untapped skills, in fields as diverse as craft and baking to new technology and accounting, to get ahead,” says Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation and StartUp Britain. “It’s certainly not a new thing, but it’s happening faster than I’ve ever seen before.”

And this grasp of how the world is changing is not just a Western phenomenon – The End Of Men claims that women in poor parts of India are learning English faster than their male counterparts to meet the demand of new international call centres and more than 40% of private businesses in China are owned by women. It’s the female ability to be flexible, to retrain and to step outside traditional gender roles that has allowed them to pull ahead – not just in the work market but in personal relationships too.

But what our generation is experiencing is not – as Rosin’s book title would suggest – the end of the male of the species. Phew! It is the beginning of female authority. Not over men, but over ourselves. Don’t believe us? We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves…

  1. Women are more likely than men to buy tablets, laptops and smartphones: 88% of women purchased tech-related items in 2010 compared to 83% of men
  2. The number of women having IVF treatment on their own has risen from 350 in 2007 to 1,571 in 2010, an increase of 440%
  3. Between 2010 and 2011, 66% of female graduates gained a First or 2:1 university degree compared to 61% of men
  4. The primary job of 207,000 men aged 16-64 is looking after their family in 2012, compared to 161,000 in 1997. However 2.1 million women are doing the same job 207,000 the number of men aged 16-64 whose primary job was looking after their family in 2012, Compared to 161,000 in 1997.
  5. In 2011, the number of women setting up their own businesses rose by 12% from theprevious year
  6. 24% of women who live with their male partners are the main breadwinners
  7. Women working in medicine are poised to outnumber their male counterparts as soon as 2017
  8. Women make up 46% of Britain’s 376,000 millionaires– a number growing 11% every year
  9. In the first 36 weeks of 2012, nine of the UK’s top 10 books had female authors
  10. 50% of the best-selling albums of last year were by female artists. Adele’s 21 sold 3.8 million copies, twice as many copies as Take That’s Progress, the top selling album of 2010.

Picture credit: Rex Features

Do you agree that male dominance is over? Tweet us your views @StylistMagazine or comment below.



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