Panel 3: Family (Evaluating Claims about "the End of Men" Conference)

Panel 3: Family
Linda C. McClain, Boston University School of Law (introductions)
Naomi Cahn, [...]George Washington University School of Law
June Carbone, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law
Ralph Richard Banks, Stanford Law School
Kathryn Edin, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government
Daniel L. Hatcher, University of Baltimore School of Law
Linda C. McClain, Boston University School of Law

Panel 3 examined economic stressors on marriage and childrearing. Divorce rates have decreased to 1960s levels for college graduates who build life around two incomes. For everyone else, divorce rates are increasing. Marriage may be a bad deal for women who “earn money and take care of kids and still are socialized to defer to men” who may not be “stable, reliable, good partners.” The current reality of Black women—outpacing Black men’s educational achievement two to one and forgoing childbearing in favor of work more than any subset of women—may be the future reality of middle-class White women. For low-income earners, the feminization of poverty in the 1970s continues to penalize poor fathers if they fall short on economic provision. These fathers cannot vindicate themselves by insisting, “I’m not a paycheck, I’m a dad.” Photographs in Rosin’s New York Times article, Who Wears the Pants in This Economy? ( male failed-provider anxiety by showing unemployed husbands “propped up” by their breadwinning wives. Nobody is smiling about the arrangement.

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: education, law, gender equality, discrimination

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