Some years ago I wrote a book based on the theme that women are better designed for the modern world than men. (Visit this page for a free copy.) Men were well-suited for the hunter-gatherer societies we evolved into, but then civilization appeared and we have come a long way from our Stone Age days.
Modern societies, enormously large and complex compared to the small, homogeneous versions of old, are different worlds that call for quite different attitudes and aptitudes, and those of women have better stood the test of time. My book, Confessions of a Matriarchist, proposed rebuilding society on feminine principles.
Recently two articles in The New York Times suggested some movement in that direction. The first, “There Was Definitely a Thumb on the Scale to Get Boys,” talks about how many colleges in the U.S. are adopting new practices to increase male enrolment.
Women now outnumber men on American campuses by a wide margin. This is true in Canada as well, with 1.3 women for every man enrolled in postsecondary institutions. Men enrolled at a lesser rate and drop out in greater numbers.
The article states that the trend begins in high school with girls getting higher grades even in STEM subjects and dominating the top ten percent of their class. A Statistics Canada survey showed that girls have stronger study and reading skills, get higher marks, do more homework, and perform better on standardized tests.
One reason for the gap may be that young men can earn good wages without a college degree, with jobs in construction, for example, whereas jobs available to young women tend to be lower pay.
Nonetheless, American universities have become sufficiently concerned that some have initiated what might be termed affirmative action for men. This has included improving and emphasizing sports programs, aiming marketing materials at young men, or simply informally privileging male applicants. Some private colleges have been granted exemptions from laws that preclude outright gender discrimination. Canadian universities have been reluctant to take this route.
The imbalance is true not just in Canada and the U.S. According to the OECD, postsecondary graduation rates for women exceed those for men in 19 out of 22 member countries.
Some researchers suggest that changes need to start as early as kindergarten. Men it seems, rather than women, are now the ones in need of support and help.
The second article, “The Precarious Force of Feminist Foreign Policy,” points out that since the Swedish foreign minister announced in 2014 that her country would adopt a feminist foreign policy, 16 governments have followed suit, including Canada.
The article suggests that the trend has become “an increasingly global tool for governments to articulate their commitment to prioritizing people and the planet over battles for economic and military dominance, to focus on collaboration over competition and on power together rather than power over.”
The adoption of such policies has included increasing foreign aid for gender equality, achieving gender parity in diplomatics corps, and setting up boards of feminist activists to advise governments.
Such policies have real results. For instance, a global study found that women’s participation in the peace process significantly increased the longevity of peace agreements. Gender equality has also been correlated with broader peace and stability: “Countries with higher gender equality are more likely to comply with international laws and treaties and less likely to use violence as a first response in a conflict setting.”
This alone informs us that the feminine touch is superior in dealing with the world we live in. Considering what’s been happening recently, particularly in Ukraine and Palestine, it could hardly be clearer that we need more feminine governance.
There has of course been macho resistance. Pro-family forces in countries such as Russia, Poland and Hungary work to roll back women’s rights while others such as Iran and Afghanistan crack down on women’s freedom. Even in the U.S., which has not announced a feminine foreign policy, women’s reproductive rights have been under attack, and even Sweden, under a new government, has hedged on its commitments.
Women continue to struggle to gain access to positions of power, remaining underrepresented on everything from legislatures to leadership. But these two articles tell us there is room for optimism. And it won’t hurt that a woman, Harvard professor Claudia Goldin, received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in recognition of her role in advancing our understanding of women’s labor market outcomes.
A better world, a more feminine world, is possible.