The End of the Mancession: What It Means For Women

Last Updated Jun 7, 2011 9:30 AM EDT

Is the "Mancession" over? And if it is, what does that mean for women?

I started thinking about this after reading the recent Slate.com article that discussed that while men lost 70 percent more jobs than women (mostly in construction and manufacturing), they are recovering them faster. Specifically: in 2010, men gained slightly more than a million jobs. Women? A relatively paltry 149,000.

Interestingly, a Time magazine blogger stated that while the stats prove women aren't bouncing back alongside men, it's not all bad news: women are not only becoming better educated than men, they are also starting more businesses than men, which could mean they'll create more jobs for other women.

Post-recession, will men rebound ahead of women, where they have historically been in terms of pay rates and promotions? Or will education truly be an equalizer? Once more women are in positions of power, whether from being promoted to the executive level, elected to board positions, or starting their own businesses, will they bring other women along up with them up corporate ladders?

To further understand the effect of the end of the "Mancession," I asked three industry experts and leaders -- Kimberly Schneiderman of City Career Services in New York City, Gayle Abbott of Strategic Alignment Partners, Inc., and Ilene H. Lang, President & CEO, Catalyst, to discuss:

Are you seeing these issues in your work? Abbott: What I'm seeing is that [the trends are] more an organization sector issue, as opposed to a gender issue, but that there are industries where there are higher percentages of one gender or another. Therefore, as the sector is affected, so will the people tied to that sector be affected.
What role will education have for women -- and is it already closing pay gaps? Lang: Companies cannot afford to overlook this talent pipeline. More than 50 percent of undergraduates earning degrees are women; more than 50 percent of PhDs and most professional degrees are earned by women. [But] according to Catalyst's report, Pipeline's Broken Promise, women MBAs earn $4,600 less in their first job post business school. U.S. Census data shows that the median salary for women with a Master's degree is lower than the median salary for men with a Bachelor's degree.
What are some tips women can use to progress post-"Mancession"? Schneiderman: A concentration on marketing their accomplishments and achievements to higher-ups and potential employers throughout one's career is one of the most powerful tools a female has in climbing the corporate ladder.
Lang: Catalyst recommends that women look at the number of women in senior leadership positions when considering an organization. If there are none or very few women at the top, it shows that the organization may not value inclusion and advancing talented women to leadership positions. Also, engage a sponsor. Catalyst research shows that sponsorship -- an active form of mentoring -- is critical for women's career advancement.
What else struck you about these reports? Schneiderman: If Slate's information is accurate, women are exiting government-based positions at an alarming rate. Depending on the type of positions that are being affected, it could ultimately affect policy creation and program development [that further affect women].
What do you think about the Slate & Time articles and this discussion? Please sign in below and share.
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    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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