Men are bearing the brunt of the current economic crisis (the "man-cession") because they predominate in manufacturing and construction, the hardest-hit sectors, which have lost more than 3 million jobs since December 2007. Women, by contrast, are a majority in recession-resistant fields such as education and health care, which gained 588,000 jobs during the same period.
Last November, President-elect Obama addressed the devastation in the construction and manufacturing industries by proposing an ambitious New Deal-like program to rebuild the nation's infrastructure. He called for a two-year "shovel ready" stimulus program to modernize roads, bridges, schools, electrical grids, public transportation, and dams and made reinvigorating the hardest-hit sectors of the economy the goal of the legislation that would become the recovery act.
Women's groups were appalled. Grids? Dams? Opinion pieces immediately appeared in major newspapers with titles like "Where are the New Jobs for Women?" and "The Macho Stimulus Plan." A group of "notable feminist economists" circulated a petition that quickly garnered more than 600 signatures, calling on the president-elect to add projects in health, child care, education. At the same time, more than 1,000 feminist historians signed an open letter urging Obama not to favor a "heavily male-dominated field" like construction: "We need to rebuild not only concrete and steel bridges but also human bridges." As soon as these groups became aware of each other, they formed an anti-stimulus plan action group called WEAVE-- Women's Equality Adds Value to the Economy.
What did President-elect Obama do when the National Organization for Women (NOW), the Feminist Majority, the Institute for Women's Policy Research, and the National Women's Law Center soon joined the battle against the supposedly sexist bailout of men's jobs? Our incoming president did what many sensible men do when confronted by a chorus of female complaint: He changed his plan. He added health, education, and other human infrastructure components to the proposal.
~ From Christina Hoff Sommers' (resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute) article "No Country for Burly Men: How Feminist Groups Skewed the Obama Stimulus Plan Towards Women's Jobs," just published in the Weekly Standard