GFC: American “mancession” and British “womancession”

There has  been a lot of fascinating coverage in the Atlantic over the past couple of years regarding the impacts that the GFC have had on men in the workforce — most famously, Hannah Rosin’s 2010 cover story ‘The End of Men‘.

Today, Jordan Weissmann is arguing that the neologism coined in response — “mancession” — is misplaced, since men are always the gender to be more adversely affected by a recession.

How Is This Recession Different From All Other Recessions? – Jordan Weissmann – Business – The Atlantic.

Perhaps it’s finally time to retire the phrase “mancession.”

During the past few years, that grisly portmanteau has become a popular shorthand for the way men seemed to suffer a special degree of misfortune during the Great Recession. Male-dominated industries, particularly construction, had been at the heart of the housing bust and the ensuing downturn, and their job prospects diminished more as a result. Hence, a new turn of phrase was born.

And it is accurate. Men’s employment did indeed crash further than women’s. But here’s why we might want to consider putting “mancession” on ice: It turns out men have gotten the brunt of every economic downturn for the past thirty years. In other words, every recession has been a “mancession.”

On the other hand, Tanya Gold in The Guardian argues that the current recession (and the Tory Government) is affecting women far more.

For women in work this is a perfect storm of inequality | Tanya Gold | Comment is free | The Guardian.

I will type until my fingers bleed; these are the worst of times for women, and the best of times for inequality, which is not a buzzword to be mocked but a phenomenon that is paid for in human tears. At a TUC event last month we lamented: we are going backwards. Women are leaving the workforce in ever greater numbers, to meet the usual fate of women who don’t work in a shrinking state divesting itself even of free access to the Child Support Agency and legal aid – poverty, and indifference to poverty. When the current vogue for retro style rolled in – cupcakes and Mad Men and Julian Fellowes’s reactionary fantasies – I thought it was a trend. I didn’t realise it was a prophecy, hung with other assaults on women’s needs, such as protesters standing like righteous zombies outside British abortion clinics. (Be pregnant, is their message. Be grateful).

I do want to note that while Gold offers some compelling figures, she also said this:

the long-hours macho working culture that thrills business because it enables men’s psychological dominance

Right. That sounds like the reason businesses would want people to work more. I think you nailed it there Ms Gold…

There are some interesting questions being raised though: why is the recession affecting men more in the US and women more in the UK? Is that, in fact, the truth? Was the GFC sexist? Does Gold refuse to work long hours because it is “macho” or because she is lazy?



, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  1. Leave a comment

Have any thoughts on this? Put them here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: