We recently learned from Tim Worstall that the so called gender gap is actually a motherhood gap. But meanwhile. the recession is about to reverse even that gap. Since men still dominate the construction and manufacturing sectors, which have been hardest-hit by the recession, they are much more likely to lose their jobs than women. This is likely to be true in most Western countries, not only the US, where 80% of the 5.7 million jobs lost between December 2007 and May this year were held by men. Far fewer jobs are expected to be lost in the service sector, especially in public services like healthcare and schools, where women dominate. These sectors even gained 588,000 jobs in the same period in the US.
Therefore, economists are already speaking of a “man-cession" with deep implications to the social fabric of society. It was not only market forces which brought this about. Organized feminist lobbyism played a major role here, manipulating president Obama’s stimulus plan, the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Originally his emulation of the 1930’s New Deal aimed to protect jobs in exactly those hardest-hit sectors by investing in “shovel ready" programs to modernize roads, bridges, electric grids and other infrastructure.
Woman’s organizations immediately denounced this as a “Macho Stimulus" and about 600 feminist economists and 1000 feminist historians managed to press the president to scrap his “sexist bailout". The anti-stimulus feminist action group called WEAVE – Women’s Equality Adds Value to the Economy was a huge success. They managed to get the Obama administration to completely rewrite his stimulus along gender-correct lines with 42% of new jobs going to women. Yet since women had only held 20% of the jobs lost in recession the stimulus as it passed through Congress on February 17 skews the creation of new jobs heavily towards women. And its working: the Labor Department’s latest June data revealed a 2.5 percentage-point gender gap for women over men.