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Recession & the Family: Women Now a Majority in American Workplaces

February 8, 2010

E.J. Manning

Of important milestones that women, and arguably feminists, have achieved, now women have surpassed 50 percent of the nation’s employment due to the recession. Behind the scenes, some are giving women a big ol’ sanctimonious pat on the back, as if the nation can forever profit at the expense of others. Yet, the “success” of women hasn’t come without a great cost even as it saves Corporate America billions of dollars in payroll bottom-line…at least, that is the assumption I make based on statistics and the latest from the mainstream media.

This national employment benchmark comes at men’s expense to be certain, but there is clearly a larger loser, the American family. During this “man-cession,” if a family is whole and complete, women are more often the breadwinners in a classic role reversal when compared to the Beaver Cleaver days. If a family has already been “castrated” from male influence, the remaining family of kids is now firmly on the back burner to fend for themselves while mom works her heart out. You cannot assume a nine-to-five scenario either. The jobs that are left are not necessarily the “plum picks,” but all kinds of shift work including part-time employment in an attempt to get by, as well as classic underemployment that now plagues America. Women are not the winners, but the losers, and the family along with it.

Last month, women held 50.3 percent of the nation’s “nonfarm” payroll jobs in seasonally unadjusted data, up from less than 33 percent in 1964. The loss of jobs held by men during the recession has finally tipped the scales of employment at a great cost to all. This isn’t to say that many women haven’t become unemployed during this recession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women have lost 3.9 million jobs while men have lost 7.4 million. Due to the number of seasonal jobs, men are likely to reclaim their status once again in the labor market, even though the trend toward women will likely continue.

Fractured families are faring far worse. Not only are women forced to work harder, more often for less, but men are more and more unable to make a supportable living, even to pay their child support. After all, if you can’t keep a roof over your head, how can you hope to pay child support? For the first time ever, untold numbers of men in fractured families, are held victim to the oppressive Bradley Amendment and a dramatic or total loss of income.

The nation has fallen victim to a system that demands fiscal perfection for “noncustodial parents,” which more often than not, happens to be men. This means that men must work under the system if they can hope to make enough to keep themselves off the streets. Others live perilously, under great stress, hoping to sustain themselves for another day, often on unemployment while barely making rent. The other option is living with friends or in the car for those that have worn out their welcome. Clearly, the recession and the banker-types that created the recession from unbounded hubris, have put America in a state of decline, not unlike that of a third-world nation. The big loser isn’t just men, but all families that don’t belong to the Wall Street or government “elite.” The larger problem remains: an unsustainable economy and mounting debt. The hubris and greed are proving to be the nations’ undoing in more ways than one.

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