Are Men Finished and Should We Help Them?

By several measures, men are in trouble. As women’s participation in the labor force climbs, men are dropping out in record numbers. That rate has fallen more than 10 percentage points over the past half-century. Economists often point a steady erosion of U.S. manufacturing jobs, largely brought on increased international competition, which became especially pronounced after China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. Women, by contrast, are not only enrolling – and graduating – from university in higher numbers – but once they graduate, according to a 2018 McKinsey Report, they at times report negotiating for raises more than men. Meanwhile, men face higher levels of substance abuse, more overdoses, higher incarceration rates, lower life expectancies, and suicide levels that are nearly four times as high as women. They could use a hand, some say, lest these rates worsen. Not so, argue others. Yes, women are doing better professionally than they were in the past. But women still earn less than men, and hold fewer executive positions. The pay gap has narrowed, they acknowledge. But it’s still there. Women also routinely confront harassment and discrimination in the workplace, and elsewhere. There is still much to be done, they argue. Therein should reside society’s larger focus. It is in this context that we debate the following question: Are Men Finished and Should We Help Them?