I’m not afraid to admit it, girls scare me. I think they will soon take over the world and there isn’t anything I can do about it. I just hope that I can be along for the ride. You may ask how I came to this conclusion. Well, it probably starts and ends with my two year old daughter, but in between there are the hard cold facts. Allow me to explain.
We live in what is called a Meritocracy. A meritocracy is a society that ideally rewards those who are the most educated, hardest working and produce the most. This is in contrast to Nepotism, which rewards people based on their families – regardless of their merit. Nepotism used to reign supreme, but now those with degrees and those with credentials are hired, promoted and lead. So in this Meritocracy of ours, we find ourselves with an overwhelming majority of women in our college classrooms, graduate schools and more and more, in the workforce. This is especially true for minorities, for which gender gaps are humongous; however, women earn more degrees now in every racial and ethnic category.
Now it is also a cold hard fact that women are paid less than men in our country. On average women earn 18 cents on the dollar less than men, but this number has decreased significantly over the years and I expect that to continue.
My point is not to wade into the debate over gender equality/inequality, but to rather point out that our world is changing. Men are less represented in our classrooms and in the dialogue. I make this statement with the assertion that if women’s representation and ideas are to be valued, men’s should be valued as well. I can see this in my office as well. I am the only male in our office, which combines the University Counseling Center and the Office of Career Development. So while I encourage women to continue to raise the bar for everyone, I also encourage the men to strive to represent us in the most positive light possible and in as many areas as possible too.
This dynamic is multifaceted, but part of the problem that I have seen is that men are less supported in their endeavors; whether by design or by choice. I am a counselor at the University Counseling Center and I see more women than men… by far. I frame this as – I know men have problems just as frequently as women, so why do they not seek help as often as women? For whatever the reason is – gender roles, stigma around mental health, etc. – not seeking help has to impact men’s success. My experience at the UCC is that once my clients enter therapy, they are able to succeed equally – no matter their gender.
So if you are a man reading this and you need someone to help you be more successful, make an appointment with me or the other counselors here. If you are woman reading this, keep up the good work.
-Logan Williamson, LPC