Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's a man's world

It's a man's world.

Many women reading this would probably say Duh!  While progress has been made to level the playing field, there are still many areas and instances that show there is still progress to be made.

Pay, of course, is a high profile issue and has never been any where near between the sexes.  In 2000, women earned about 76% of what men made for the same jobs.  The gap is smaller now, but not all of it is equality in the work force.  The current recession has hit men harder than women.  Gender pay gap is smallest on record (USA Today).  Another reason women are gaining is more and more are entering typical male-dominated professions.  Almost half of all science and business majors are women.  Census: Women closing in on male-dominated fields (USA Today).

It's not all about money and professions.  Much of our language is not gender neutral.  I understand that 'tradition' plays a large part in our lives.  We still say mankind and Father Time.  We usually say words or phrases because that is what was used before and we grew up with it.  But things are, indeed, changing.  We now say Mail Carrier and Steward and Chairperson.

There are exceptions, of course.  We call ships 'she'.  But for every Mother Nature, there are probably dozens of male pronouns. 

What had me thinking about all of this was a few days ago I was walking my dog around the neighborhood.  A man who was walking down the street saw her and, not knowing her gender said something like "hey there little fellow."  This is usually the way it goes.  They ask "what is his name?" assuming our little Maddie is a boy.  I normally answer "her name is Maddie", giving them two pieces of information at once.  But as with all things, there are exceptions.  About a week ago, someone else in the neighborhood asked "what is his or her name?"  I smiled and simply said "Maddie."

It's progress.

Interesting article on why words should NOT be changed.  Mother Nature (Wordwatch)  Make sure to check out the comments also.  People chime in from both sides of the aisle.

Video: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandbert talks about Why we have too few women leaders (TED)

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