Work is for Women, Foraging and Gathering for Us Guys

I have always (secretly) thought work is for women. And it looks as if America’s employers have finally come around to my way of thinking.

The U.S. Government announced this week that unemployment fell to 9.7 percent in January, the rate’s first decline in the Obama presidency. And the new jobs are going mostly to women. While unemployment for men still hovers way above 10 percent, the rate for women has fallen to 8.4 percent.

womenOf course, one reason is that women will work for less. In America, a woman gets about 80 percent of the pay a man would get for the same kind of work. But I don’t think that’s the only reason employers are hiring them. In my experience, women tend to be better workers.

Years ago, I would’ve made an exception for jobs that involve heavy lifting, driving bulldozers or 18-wheelers, felling trees… that kind of thing. But not today, I see the UPS lady hoisting packages that would make my knees tremble, and when I pass work crews on the road, I’m just as likely to see a woman driving the earth mover as a man.

foragingOf course, we men are supposed to be better at math. But with today’s technology, who needs math? Computers do all the calculations that workers need. And when it comes to using a keyboard, women are a lot more nimble (after all, they have smaller fingers).

But the most valuable asset women have is their discipline. They are far more reliable when it comes to attendance – despite the demands of motherhood, housekeeping and all that other stuff they do at home.

Many years ago, the Financial Post in Toronto assigned me to report on industrial development in Nova Scotia. When I went to a plant where electronic equipment was being assembled, I noticed there were no male employees, and I asked why. The answer was that when the company hired men it hadn’t worked out because come hunting season they were AWOL.

Women workers can be catty and conniving, but they’re not nearly as troublesome as men can be. Talk about egotistical! And territorial! You can’t get much done in an office when male workers start fighting over turf.

As promotion manager for a Canadian publisher, I met an English author named Desmond Morris. He had written a couple of best-sellers, “The Naked Ape” and “The Human Zoo.” And, as I drove him from one TV or radio interview to another, we would chat about his findings as a zoologist and ethologist. He told me that as society developed and humans became less nomadic, it was the women who put down roots, figuratively and literally. They wanted a stable environment for their children, he explained.

It was the women who planted and harvested crops, while the men went off foraging and gathering, hunting and fishing (when they weren’t fighting), he said.

(Women working, top picture; men foraging, lower picture.)

As far as I am concerned, the workplace belongs to women. Let them plant and harvest, or type or go to meetings… or whatever needs to be done to earn the family’s daily bread. We guys are much more at home foraging for our golf balls in the rough or gathering a couple of brews at the pub.

Now, if they could just get their pay checks up to par with the male rate, they could afford to support us in the way we would like to become accustomed.