There’s that law of physics (If I don’t get this exactly right, cut me some slack – I’m an English major) that says that for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. So, as we discussed in our Friday post, when more women are graduating college than men, there’s sure to be a backlash.
And a couple of days ago on NPR (love them!), there it was. In a story about how women are earning more bachelor’s degrees. Tom Mortensen of the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity and Higher Education presented the male perspective.
Men are under pressure on multiple fronts, he said. “Traditional male jobs” in manufacturing are down to a little over 10 percent of the nation’s economy while jobs in the service sector, where many women have made their career homes, are growing. Men don’t seem to be getting the message that education will help them succeed in the kinds of jobs available.
(A brief aside here. I found his use of “traditional male jobs” intriguing. Just as women once had the choice of mother, nurse or teacher, men are now experiencing the flip side of losing choice in their career paths. Irony, yes?)
Evidence of the plight of men? High incarceration rates, fewer males in the labor force, decreasing numbers of male voters, and an increase in absentee fathers. “We seem to know how to encourage and motivate and prepare young women but there’s really no conversation going on about what we ought to do to prepare our boys for the kinds of jobs that are going to be out there when they become adults,” Mortensen said.
The lesson for us as marketers here is this: yes, this new focus on marketing to women is exciting, but there has to be room for everyone at the table. Including men. And maybe, just maybe, there’s room in the conversation about how to prepare today’s boys for companies, brands, and individuals who have learned how to speak with today’s girls and women.