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The New 'Gender Gap'
by Bruce Bawer
I've just finished perusing two reports – more accurately, one legitimate report and one "report" that deserves scare quotes. The legitimate report is an MIT study of "the emerging gender gap in labor markets and education" – the fact that while American women, for some time now, have been going to college in increasingly high numbers and doing better and better professionally, while American men have been headed downhill. The report's authors, economists David Autor and Melanie Wasserman, note that "females born in 1975 were roughly 17% more likely than their male counterparts to attend college and nearly 23% more likely to complete a four-year degree."
Why? The authors' analysis zeroes in on the rise in single motherhood over the last generation or two. Their statistics show that while the sons of single mothers face a significantly increased risk of "high school dropout, criminality, and violence," and thus "diminished chances of obtaining stable employment," the impact of single motherhood on daughters isn't all that severe. Autor and Wasserman suggest that a "vicious cycle" may be in the offing, with a lower rate of father-headed households today giving rise to a generation of underachieving men tomorrow, and consequently to even fewer father-headed households – resulting in an ever-widening disparity between the educational and professional attainments of American men and women. The authors make it clear, moreover, that the phenomena they describe aren't distinctive to the U.S. but can be observed in many parts of the Western world.
How odd – to put it mildly – to turn from Autor's and Wasserman's sober, and sobering, study to another recent report, or, as I say, "report," entitled How to Counteract Anti-Feminism and Right-Wing Extremism: Input and Recommendations from Experts in the Nordic Countries. Funded in part by the Norwegian taxpayer (what isn't?), it was compiled by a team of government bureaucrats, academics (in fields like sociology and Women's Studies), and employees of non-profits devoted to "anti-racism" and the like. Among these "experts":
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