Rebounding From a “Mancession,” Remembering the Ladies

President Obama recently laid out his new “American Jobs Act” before Congress in the hope of revitalizing our economy, putting the willing to work and finally ending one of the nation’s longest and worst recessions. With unemployment at a startling high–and making only marginal, if any, improvements monthly–the country has one thing on its mind. JOBS.

The White House put much time and effort into outlining the effects of the Jobs Act for all demographics, including a fact sheet [PDF] devoted exclusively to the effect on women and the economy. Still it is hard not to wonder if, during this hoped-for recovery from what is widely coined the “mancession,” we will again need to remind the nation to “remember the ladies.”

The fact is that men did see a greater overall job loss and increase in unemployment rate during the recession. However, the jobs that are being created are largely going to men. While the meager return of 27 percent of men’s jobs deserves little celebration, it looks healthy compared to the 9 percent return rate seen for women.

One must also question whether the “mancession” was an economic phenomenon that unfairly hit men or if it was in part due to the fact that women were the ones more willing to take the jobs men viewed as beneath their station or as steps down the ladder. When it comes to mouths to feed and doctors’ bills to pay, most women quickly get over such objections. It takes blind faith to believe that as higher paying jobs are created, companies will reward these women’s efforts with promotions from within. As the nation rebuilds, we must make sure that women are at the decision-making table and voting their interests.

When Abigail Adams beseeched her husband, John Adams, during the writing of the Constitution to advocate for women’s legal rights, famously to “remember the ladies,” it was out of necessity. She knew that women did not have the right to vote, let alone a dream of serving in Congress or higher office.

It is now our prerogative, nay, our responsibility to make sure no one forgets the ladies. We have the vote, we have the voice, let’s make sure we’re heard.

“If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no representation.”- Abigail Adams, March 31, 1776

You tell ’em sister.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

This blog is part of the #HERvotes blog carnival. Read more HERvotes posts by Ms. and other women’s groups.


  1. Joyce Lovelace says:

    Wait a minute – weren’t these the jobs and unions we fought to get into? Now MS magazine wants to say there’s women’s work and men’s work? I think there will be a lot of women truck drivers, construction workers and other trades people, who will find exception to this article. What “girl” jobs do you think the President should address? Do you think that increased construction projects won’t increase the amount of support staff needed, as well as architects, and other professionals.

    • Bettina Hager says:

      Dear Joyce, I apologize for the confusion. This article is referring to making sure that the economic recovery is seen equally by both men and women, not in reference to the types of jobs created.

  2. I think this post raises a lot of important points, not least of which is the question of underemployment in a recession. As more high-level positions open up, let’s hope employers look to the pool of employees who stuck it out in jobs that were “beneath them” and promote from within.

    @Joyce, I don’t think anyone is saying there are men’s and women’s work. But the numbers show that men and women are recovering from the recession differently. It behooves us to try and understand all the reasons why that might be happening.

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