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Friday, April 01, 2011

Being happy trumps making money and babies!

What are people looking for in their lives? Well, the short and sweet answer is happiness. This state of being has been long sought after, since the time human beings were able to sense, feel and think about things that earlier was considered beyond their abilities.

With increased abilities come doubts and more questions. Happiness is one subject that both men and women seek in equal measure but it was always assumed that men were happiest making money and women were happiest making babies. But this report done by Euro RSCG called 'Gender Shift: Are Women the New Men?' has stated that, "When we look at love and friendship combined, those selections tower over the percentages that chose the options of “freedom,” “money,” and “power.” That’s an important shift: It appears men and women are moving away from what have long been considered the coveted prizes at the end of the rat race – namely, money and power – in favor of love and friendship, which perhaps earlier generations took for granted."

This report is based on a survey done with 600 adults in China, France, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The sample in each market was made up of 500 millennials (aged 18 to 25) and 100 Gen Xers/baby boomers (aged 40 to 55), for a total of 3,000 respondents. (This report only covers responses from the west. India and China will be done in a separate report. I'll upload a link to that report as well at the end of this post, if I get my hands on it.)

Ironically, in a reversal of priorities, the millennials, who despite all the social networking are the ones who want love and friendship more than ever, which is something their mothers took for granted, as the very fabric of their life - not something to be yearned for. They were also less likely to feel the pinch of work, societal or cultural restrictions than their mothers' generation did. The result is that they are 'less' likely to take up causes as a group but protest loudly for themselves alone.

Both male and female millennials had one great fear - that of being alone. The report says, "By far the greatest fear afflicting both males and females is being alone. That fear trumped being sick, poor, homeless, unsuccessful, or bored." But these fears have always been there and now men have to really gear up to face a new reality - that women employees will be preferred in the future and men may not have jobs.

The report explains why: "In most of the Western world, the Great Recession has served to further exacerbate men’s decline. Of the 11 million U.S. jobs destroyed since December 2007, 66 percent were held by men. Moreover, men dominate just two of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most over the next decade. In all likelihood, a growing number of men will be obliged to stay at home and count on their wives to support them and their children.

To some extent, women have become the new men – and vice versa. In an article in The Atlantic entitled “The End of Men,” journalist Hanna Rosin reminds us that “man has been the dominant sex since the dawn of mankind,” before adding that “for the first time in human history, that is changing – and with shocking speed.” The primary reason? “The global economy is evolving in a way that is eroding the historical preference for male children, worldwide.

Rosin posits that women’s increased economic power has led many would-be parents to believe a daughter would have a better life than a son. When couples look at society, they see a virtuous circle for girls (more successful education, more stable employment, more opportunities, staying closer to parents/family), while, for boys, they see a vicious circle marked by lesser academic and career achievement, more drugs and/or alcoholism, and perhaps even criminal activity.

As a consequence, more parents, if allowed to choose the sex of their child, would choose a girl. This shift (in attitude) is now beginning in other rapidly industrializing countries, including China and India."

As a woman - I can only say that it's about time that this happened. But how are you men going to deal with this? The prefabricated existence that made you so happy - at a great cost to women sometimes - is about to unravel. So are you prepared for this tectonic change in the balance between the sexes, that will occur in the future? If your ego gets in the way of acceptance of this cultural shift, then happiness is not going to be available as and when you want it.

You have to anyway seek it within yourselves - and women can only help you with this fulfilling search, if you continue to be meaningful to us, in our lives.

PS: Graphics are taken from the report. To read the entire report, click here - http://www.prosumer-report.com/gender/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/GenderShift_Final.pdf

1 comment:

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