‘Mancession’ Helps Women in the Workplace

By Sean Silverthorne

June 24th, 2010 @ 7:05 am

Categories: Gender in the Workplace

Quick, what do SEC Chairman Mary Shapiro, FDIC head Sheila Bair,  California gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman and California Senator wannabe Carly Fiorina all have in common?

If you said they are all women, you receive partial credit. The real answer in they are part of a trend that Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn calls the “mancession.” It seems the economic downturn took a disproportionate toll on men, especially in manufacturing, while women-heavy industries such as health care have boomed.

“For the first time in history,” Koehn observes in Forbes.com, “women are neck and neck with men in the labor force. Women held 49.9% of 131 million U.S. jobs in late 2009. Their ranks are expected to rise. And I, as a historian, can tell you that the rising power of women in the workforce will have a long-run impact on institutions, the social contract, and the look and feel of work itself.”

How might the look and feel of work change? For one, “they speak up when established institutions or systems lose their way,” as do Shapiro and Bair. They are also are reformers, like Whitman and Fiorina, who vow to fix what the old pols messed up.

As women start to gain more power in the workplace and in government, do you see the “look and feel” of our institutions changing?

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RE: ‘Mancession’ Helps Women in the Workplace

As a woman who holds an executive title with one other woman and 5 men, I’ve never felt I had to try and be different or succeed another man for a position because of my gender being different.

I don’t understand why creating statistics or creating a term such as “mancession” is necessary, as a woman I don’t feel like I have anything to prove, if I did I would be wasting a ton of time that could be used to make my company more successful. “A long-run impact” means what exactly? Woman with higher positions and decision making power will save the world?

Personally, I like working with men much more than working with women, I recently turned down a VP of Marketing position because the whole management team were woman, no thanks, to many claws for me.

RE: ‘Mancession’ Helps Women in the Workplace

While I agree with the previous writer that women waste a
lot of time if they worry about proving themselves with men.
The question though, is do women lead differently? The
answer is a resounding “yes”. Women leaders tend to be
more holistic in their thinking and approach to any issue than
men. They see the shades of gray before men do. They are
more willing to change the status quo and collaborate. This
has been proven time and time again. We just think
differently than men. It’s not good or bad, just different.
The result is the workplace will change as more good women
leaders emerge into those roles.