Scandinavia is the most egalitarian area in the world when it comes to policies, but it is also the area in which men and women segregate themselves into different occupations.
This division by gender in many professions is unusually pronounced in Iceland, known as a society that values equality, with a female prime minister, a law requiring employers to certify they pay male and female workers equally and a rule that at least 40 percent of corporate board members must be women.
The male dislike of education is of long standing, but it is increasing. An article in the Post points out:
Fifty years ago, 58 percent of U.S. college students were men. Today, 56 percent are women, Education Department estimates show. This year, for the first time, the share of college-educated women in the U.S. workforce passed the share of college-educated men.
Iceland is leading the way:
the shrinking number of men in higher education has, until recently, attracted scant attention, said Eyjolfur Gudmundsson, rector of the University of Akureyri, where 77 percent of 2,389 undergraduates are women.
“We are just now waking up and understanding that this is a problem,” Gudmundsson said. “The world is waking up to it.”
Yet some people still ask him why they should be concerned, Gudmundsson said.
“It is of concern for the exact reason that we had concern 30 years ago about women not being represented in higher education in a fair way, or in the United States about ethnic groups and people of different backgrounds” not going to college, he said he tells them.
Though there are slightly more men in Iceland than women, women earn more undergraduate and graduate degrees, including PhDs, according to the country’s Directorate of Equality. Fifty-nine percent of women in the Reykjavik region have completed college, compared with 45 percent of men; outside the capital, the ratio is 40 percent to 19 percent.
While men still predominate in engineering and computer science, they won’t go into nursing; 98 percent of nurses here are women, at a time when the need for nurses is rising.
There are also shortages of teachers in Iceland, another job for which few men apply; at the University of Iceland, 91 percent of teaching students are women.
Women will go into fields long associated with men, bt men will not go into fields long associated with women:
In fact, attitudes toward work have started changing — but more among women than men. At the University of Iceland, more women have begun to enter male-dominated disciplines such as electrical engineering.
“What isn’t happening is the other trend in the female-dominated departments,” Gestsdottir said. “We’re not seeing men going into women-dominated subjects at the same rate. This is a very slow process.”
Women will happily wear pants; men will rarely wear dresses (and no, a kilt is not a skirt).
In higher education in the United States there is some hostility to men, especially heterosexual men, especially white heterosexual men. So there are fewer and fewer men in college; women have to marry down educationally.
In Iceland, with is 3% unemployment rate, there are still many well-paying blue collar jobs in fishing and construction; less so in the United States.
The dominance of men at the very top of society conceals the downward mobility of men as a whole, and the males at the top of the pyramid show little empathy for males at the bottom of the pyramid, where men far outnumber women in prison and on the streets.
Several years ago, I attended a conference on fatherhood at McGill University in Montreal. A professor of sociology, a woman, gave a depressing presentation on the rising number of suicides of young men in Canada and elsewhere.
In the middle of her presentation an older man arose and interrupted her. “Stop!” he said. “Why are you discussing this? The real crisis is the glass ceiling that women assistant professors of theology face when they try to become full professors! Don’t waste your time on trivial issues! Concentrate on the real problems!”
I asked who the jerk was and was informed it was Gregory Baum. Ah yes, Gregory Baum, super-liberal theologian and peritus at the Second Vatican Council. And liberals wonder why men voted for Trump.