Men have supposedly fared worse in the recent recession — but some measures show that in the kinda-sorta-maybe recovery, it's women who are actually losing out.
MSNBC's Allison Linn writes that though men are still more likely to be unemployed than women, their unemployment rate is actually falling (from 10% in January 2010 to 9.4% in December), while women's has risen (from 7.8% to 8.1% in that time). And with more cuts in government jobs — over half of which are held by women — coming this year, they may lose even more ground. Already, it seems government cuts have harmed women disproportionately — 86% of jobs cut in that area in 2010 were held by women. Linn also talked to 56-year-old Elizabeth Fenimore, who's unemployed and says she was recently passed over for a job in favor of a less-experienced man. She tells Linn,
It doesn't matter that I have experience. They're looking at my age, you know, and that I'm a girl, and they see ‘Grandma.' I don't look like a grandma, but I think that's what they're seeing.
Many older workers are having trouble in the recession, and its not clear whether ageism is hitting women harder than men. But what is true is that even though traditionally-male fields have lost a lot of jobs, this doesn't mean workplace discrimination against women is somehow magically over. Unemployment is a real problem for people of all genders, and it's important not to minimize the challenges men have faced. At the same time, terms like "mancession" are simplistic, and suggest that for men to suddenly be out of jobs is somehow a reversal of the natural order of things. As the economy haltingly limps toward recovery, we need to make sure that better times don't bring a retrenchment of old biases.