I keep hearing of places in the world where women are pursuing higher education whereas men are sitting around drinking beer after a day at the factory. Women have fled the former East Germany in massive numbers, leaving behind an increasingly anachronistic male working class. African-American women are outpacing African-American men in their pursuit of higher education. These sorts of stories interest me because they reflect a cultural friction as well, particularly the frustration that ambitious women feel as they attempt to find men that are their equals, and the frustration experienced by men unable to evolve and who are thus increasingly marginalized.
Only in the last hundred years has a massive shift begun to occur regarding the power of women, not just on a societal level, but on an evolutionary one. For the vast majority of our history (and our pre-history), men have dominated women simply because men generally possessed greater physical strength. Even the Renaissance and "The Age of Reason" were also ages of war where a country's number of fighting men and the brute strength of those men determined the fate of that country. And women remained politically subjugated through the end of the 19th century; intellectualism rose, but sexist beliefs took longer to overturn.
Only in the 20th century in the most democratically-advanced societies did women begin to vote and to enjoy equal access to education in any fields that intrigued them. Sexism remained--and still remains--to this day (it will forever be a fact of life; wherever there are differences there are prejudices), but access to opportunity has seen a tremendous rise in women doctors, lawyers, and other high-earning professionals whose station in life was determined by their pursuit of post-graduate education.
Only in the last few years have we entered a world where mental capability is all that matters and where strength no longer determines gender dominance in our species. It seems women in industrialized countries, including the United States ("As of 2008, women accounted for 59 percent of all students enrolling in graduate schools for the first time"), are more quickly rising up to take advantage of the opportunity.
While many standard benchmarks, like America's lack of a woman president, remain unmet, I wonder if we are rapidly moving into a world where women will dominate? And why do so many men, including myself, find it difficult to make the move into higher education that so many women are taking?
thoughts in Râmnicu Vâlcea, România