Panel 6: Could These Both Be True?: Reconciling "the End of Men" with Women's Continuing Inequality

Panel 6: Could These Both Be True?: Reconciling "the End of Men" with Women's Continuing Inequality [...]
Khiara M. Bridges, Boston University School of Law (introductions and presentation)
Philip N. Cohen, University of Maryland, Dept. of Sociology
Frank Rudy Cooper, Suffolk University School of Law
Nancy Dowd, University of Florida Levin College of Law

Panel 6 examined whether end-of-men concerns obscure broader, entrenched inequality. Female breadwinning and male unemployment were cast as symptoms of Black family pathology in the Moynihan Report. But the same developments for White families now bring accolades to women and empathy to men. One difference may be the fear of female-headed Black families turning to the state for support. In response to that fear, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) may encourage these families “to become independent of the state by becoming dependent on a wage earning man.” That approach reinforces traditional gender roles. But poor educational outcomes and hyper-incarceration narrow the field of economically secure Black men—one half of Black boys will not graduate high school and two thirds of poor Black men will serve jail time. Meanwhile, five men are vying to replace the first woman mayor of post-manufacturing Alexander City as she completes her tenure.

About the Conference:
Friday, October 12 & Saturday, October 13, 2012
Boston University School of Law

"The end of men," a phrase coined by journalist HannaRosin, captures the proposition that women have made such remarkable progress in all domains—and men have suffered such declines and reversals—that women are effectively surpassing men and becoming the dominant sex. This interdisciplinary conference evaluated claims about "the end of men" and consider their implications.

Feminist diagnoses of sex discrimination have fueled changes in law and policy, as well as in cultural norms. Should recent claims about the status of men likewise prompt redress? The conference examined empirical assertions about men's and women's comparative status in concrete domains, such as education, the workplace and the family. It examined how the data supporting claims about the end of men—and progress of women—look once differentiated by class, race, region and other categories. It provided historical perspectives on current anxieties about imbalances between men's and women's power, opportunities and status.

The conference also offered comparative and international perspectives on the "end of men" thesis, testing it in a variety of contexts in Europe and the Middle East. Papers and proceedings will be published in the Boston University Law Review.


Tags: law, gender equality, discrimination

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