Tag Archives: women issues

WOMEN’S SUCCESS = ROLE REVERSALS

WOMEN’S SUCCESS = GENDER ROLE REVERSALS

According to the Census Bureau(1), 685,000 men and 916,000 women graduated from college in 2009. That is 25% fewer men than women that graduate. In 2010, about 47% of the workforce was women. As women become the doctors, attorneys, and CEOs, the social culture around us will change. Since this educational trend is expected to continue, it will result in a gender role reversal as men realize the earning power of women. As women earn more and spend more time with careers, men will naturally take on more of the domestic responsibilities.

The result is a female culture that is moving forward by making society more humanitarian and less male oriented. Women infuse a more a compassionate and supportive role in relationships. Men tend to be a more business or task oriented. This transition has been going on for years, of course, but should reach a turning point as women surpass men as the primary household breadwinners.

Expect some male resistance to this re-balancing of leadership. Men have a long history of feeling dominant over women in the working world as evidenced by the existing wage gap and glass ceiling . Men have enjoyed a social culture that has rewarded them first. But, all cultures evolve based on survival needs and better social equality and understanding. This evolution is based on the practical needs of survival for the family unit.

As this male resistance occurs, women can explain that this change increases the security of the family unit financially and socially. Also, the male can now improve their relationships with their children and form a deeper bonds with increased time at home. To counter any resistance, men are more likely to enjoy domestic life with a little encouragement from you. You simply explain the benefits: no getting up early, no fighting traffic, no boss watching over you, no social pecking order to fit into, and no constant anxiety to perform better. That’s a lot of benefits just by staying home!

This natural social evolution is a win for both genders. The woman can more easily achieve her occupational and financial dreams, but still be involved at home at key times. The man will realize his deeper needs for bonding and care-taking in general and feel more connected to his family. Men will adjust and embrace this reality, albeit, slowly. I expect our relationships with our partner will improve since equality is a better balance for cooperation and stability going forward. L.. Johnson   More at: www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)http://cnsnews.com/sites/default/files/documents/DEGREES%20EARNED%20BY%20LEVEL%20AND%20SEX.pdf                                                                                                                                       Photo: UNE photos on flickr(CC by 2.0)

Men are Risky, Study Confirms

Men are Risky, Study Confirms

The British Medical Journal(BMJ) has released a historical study that shows men are far more likely to engage in senseless high risk behaviors than women(1). They start out looking at the cause of past admissions to emergency rooms for the males. “Males are more likely to be admitted to an emergency department after accidental injuries, more likely to be admitted with a sporting injury, and more likely to be in a road traffic collision with a higher mortality rate.” These historical figures place male risk taking much higher than the females, suggesting the trait is inherited.

The authors discuss the possibility that these behaviors might be determined by social or cultural differences. But, since they noted that high risk behaviors of males are reported at an early age, they conclude that this may be genetic in origin. They site many studies to confirm this. However, they don’t discuss the differences within the males. I think that age and socioeconomic status might have some influence since poverty may be correlated with higher risk taking.

Their definition of idiotic risks are really senseless risks, “…where the apparent payoff is negligible or non-existent, and the outcome is often extremely negative and often final”. They also bring up something called “male idiot theory” based on the “the observation that men are idiots and idiots do stupid things “. They also note that alcohol consumption tends to exasperate this tendency in men.

Going to war certainly seems like an acceptable high risk endeavor with dire consequences. This is especially appealing to young men. One of the main reasons for this is young men are establishing their masculine identity or manhood. This group has an identity of toughness or strength rather than one of intelligence and caring. So, these other traits might help distinguish which group of men are more likely to take on higher risks.

In their discussion, the authors are at a loss to explain this difference between men and women. Besides forming a cultural masculine identity, I personally think the person is looking for purpose and meaning in their life.  As men age, the risky behavior tends to wane, but still remains. Going into retirement, some men find great boredom and re-emerge as risk takers with their money. This is another point in life where your purposes is undefined. Some men I know risk their life savings in an attempt to feel more engaged. As an ex-stockbroker, I’ve seen retired men lose over a million dollars in the market and return to prior employment to survive.

In conclusion, dangerous risk taking appears to peak as a teenager, but is often seen in the 20s as well. This is correlated with brain development that lessens over time. However, some people have greater risky traits throughout life. One solution is to become deeply engaged and busy with your life goals.  In retirement, if you’ve been intensely involved in a prior work environment, you need to carry this intensity into your next phase.  Without this involvement, boredom and anxiety occur leading to damaging risky behaviors to alleviate it. Everyone needs an engaging future plan to look forward to–be sure you have one.

L. Johnson of www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)BMJ 2014;349:g7094 Retrieved from: http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g7094 on 12-13-14.

11 Ways Female Retirement is Different

11 Ways Female Retirement is Different   

Most of us don’t think of retirement as being male or female, but there are differences in financial, medical, lifestyle, personal, social, and emotional areas.

LONGER LIFE: The first difference is that, on average, women live longer than men. This is wonderful news for you, but at the same time means you must fund and balance a budget for a longer time. Sustainability of financial and emotional livelihood becomes an essential component for future planning.

LESS INCOME: Women make less income over a lifetime than men in similar positions. The wage gap is slowly narrowing so that today women make about 75% to 80% of a man’s pay. Social security benefits are less since the benefit amount is based on accumulated income. Some women may have worked less in the workplace in order to attend to family needs, and have saved less than women who worked outside the home. This lifetime of dedication to husband and kids can leave women with fewer saving and a lower income history.

MORE MEDICAL CARE: Medical expenses are expected to be higher for women throughout each life stage. The bottom line from many of the studies is that, for various reasons, women just need to see the doctor more often, and end up paying more. Women tend to be more alert and concerned about resolving medical issues than men. Some of women’s medical expense may be for preventative care or for routine exams that men don’t need or may skip. But, overall, it just cost more to get more medical care.

 HIGHER LIFESTYLE EXPENSE: Women spend more on hygienic and cosmetic items such as toiletries, makeup, hair, nails, and fashions. In general, appearance is important whether you are retired or not. Women are not about to let their hygiene and appearance deteriorate to any extent like a man might. Men tend to get away with the weekend just-got-out-of-bed look. As women, that would be considered a social faux pas and even embarrassing. Having a better appearance end up costing a bit more.

LESS HEALTH INSURANCE: It’s unfortunate that women are less likely than men to be offered health insurance at work. Part of this difference is due to women more often working at part-time jobs. The combination of a need for more medical care and less insurance coverage can put women in a difficult position. Divorced women are about half as likely to have insurance, since many were often insured through their ex-husband’s job.

CARETAKER DEMANDS: Everyone seems to expect women to be the caretakers for their children and for their elderly parents. Women usually enjoy being a parent and wouldn’t have it any other way. Men help some with children, but not as much with elders. When our parents get old and need help, it’s women who step forward. Even if you embrace your caretaker situation with joy and purpose, it often keeps you out of the workforce and reduces income. This is a very personal issue because many of us want to take care of mom, but may admit to having mixed feelings.

SOCIAL INVOLVEMENT: Excellent social skills, which many women develop naturally, create an amazing foundation for continued involvement and support from others. The strength of this trait appears to mitigate the stress of other life challenges. My women friends tell me that women do most of the volunteering and often take the default role of social planner for the home. Volunteering for women is a natural extension of social skills that involves them in the community, enabling them to connect to new people, including those with similar interests. A woman’s social involvement is usually deeper than most men.

INCREASED SELF-SUFFICIENCY: My consultants tell me that many women still expect a man to take care of them. They seek not a knight in shinning armor, but a desirable partner and teammate. That’s interesting because men secretly want a woman to take care of them. It appears that deep inside, we all want to be taken care of. It’s just human nature to want somebody to “be there” for us. But, this is less likely to happen to a woman today compared to the past. Prior generations stayed in marriages longer, which increased financial stability for wives. Cultural changes in marriage have increased freedom and a sense of control for women. An extension of this freedom is increased self-sufficiency.

BREAST CANCER: We really cannot overlook this disease, since it occurs 99% of the time in women and often in retirement. The average age at diagnosis is 61 years old. It’s just a fact of life that most women accept and plan for by taking precautions. Most are aware of the importance of self-examinations, scheduled mammograms, recent treatment options, and dramatically improved survival rates. Even the media is more accepting and sensitive, as evidenced by the news of Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a double mastectomy for preventative reasons.

MENOPAUSE: It may be true that a loss of estrogen in women is parallel to a loss of testosterone in men, but the range and intensity of the experience is quite different. These symptoms of hot flashes, mood swings, hair loss, dizziness and weight gain can interfere with your comfort in social situations. They can become personally distressing unless you feel you have some control over them. Although, menopause is not life threatening, it can still interfere with your lifestyle and happiness if you let it.

EMOTIONAL DIFFERENCE: Although major depression tends to occur less frequently with the elderly overall, some studies show that more elderly women are becoming depressed recently. Women are more susceptible to depression at this stage, and it tends to be more prolonged. Depression can have physical consequences in that you care less about and may abandon your healthy habits. The National Institute of Mental Health views depression in the elderly as a major public health problem.

I address all these issues in the book and provide common sense recommendations. If I missed any other differences, please let me know.

More at:     www.creativeretirementforwomen.com