Is the end of men to reality what one-third is to 18 percent?

UPDATE: On Sept. 12, Slate published this correction: “This article originally stated that women hold one-third of U.S. congressional seats. Women actually hold 18.3 percent of congressional seats.” And they cut the stuff about how that means women getting elected is “normalized.” We’ll see what the book version of the epilogue says.

Hanna Rosin’s book The End of Men is coming out in paperback, and she’s including a new epilogue, now excerpted on Slate.

For glass-half-empty feminists — like me — eager to obsess over data minutia, and jump on her every mistake, she is very obliging:

The 2012 elections inspired a similar reactionary response in some quarters. A record number of women were elected to Congress, bringing their number to a third of the membership, the level many sociologists cite as a tipping point when a minority becomes normalized and starts to enter the mainstream. In other words, it’s no longer big news when a woman gets elected; it’s the expected.


Actual number of women in Congress: 18.3%. I don’t know any sociologists who think that is a “tipping point when a minority becomes normalized.”

I only noticed two other errors in the piece: calling Stephanie Coontz a “sociologist” (a compliment for any historian), and claiming she (Rosin) “sat through… an academic conference dedicated largely to rebutting the claims I had made” (she left halfway through, for which I don’t blame her).

For a full cataloging of Rosin errors and distortions (at least the ones I found), follow my Hanna Rosin tag. I also wrote an article version, “The End of Men Is Not True,” in the Boston University Law Review, which has the whole symposium online here.

15 thoughts on “Is the end of men to reality what one-third is to 18 percent?

  1. As usual, a great post.

    And for the rest of us who “obsess over data minutiae”, someone might note that 18.3% nevertheless represents an increase over the 2012 percentage, so the numbers still seem to be moving in the right direction — unlike so much else of the stalled gender revolution. But this is probably just the playing out of women in the political pipeline coming from state and local elective office. The wonderful data from the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics show that the female % in state legislatures, and especially in state executive office, while higher than in Congress, has more clearly stalled in the last decade compared to the growth in the 1970s and 1980s. See


  2. I agree with a number of critiques of Hanna’s work. But what I find lacking with your side of the debate is as follows: 1. What to do about gender pay inequities? More ligitation and government intervention, to deal with a 20-15% pay differential? 2. About the vast disparities in family law giving advantages to mothers over fathers?


    1. A better solution than “litigation and government intervention” at the level of “You paid me too little! I’ll sue ya!” would be mandating that employers over a certain size publish statistics breaking down their workforce salaries by race, gender, seniority, and labor category. Part of the reason employers are able to pay some people less than others despite equal qualifications is that in America, we think it’s acceptable to keep salaries a deep dark secret. Now, I’m not in favor of releasing statistics about individuals’ salaries, but a large company producing a breakdown by race/gender/labor category/experience would more or less instantly be forced to display any racial or gender biases in either who they hire or what pay they hire them for. And then this would empower employees to be able to say “Well, this says you pay me less than the average that you pay other people doing my job, with my experience, so are you gonna give me a raise or am I gonna walk?”

      Right now all the power is in the hands of the employer because the employee has no way of knowing if their own salary is average, below average, or above average. Force transparency, and you benefit workers in *many* ways… not just women, not just minorities, but even white dudes who are being underpaid because the boss doesn’t like their face.


  3. 1) This would appear to be a change in subject, perhaps better suited for a new thread.

    2) In answer to the first question Frank poses (what do we do about gender pay inequity), I would think that beginning the discussion with a common set of facts would be an essential first step, which is why critiquing the original paper is not simply an academic exercise.


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