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No longer at ease: Women now have the upper hand, men in deep trouble

OPINION
By XN Iraki | July 15th 2020

Let’s confront a fact; the age of hunting and gathering is gone. Men are no longer valued for their muscles and ability to confront the saber-toothed tiger. They are now valued for their ability to make money, and women have no qualms declaring that.

With a scarcity of formal jobs, men are losing the economic plot. They are not as flexible as women. Think of the tasks women can do and men can’t. We have mama fua and no baba fua, mama mboga, and no baba mboga.

Think of the benefits women are getting by being hired as stay-in house helps. They get free food, free accommodation and access to high end restaurants and other amenities as they mind the kids. Few families want a male house help. Men are only preferred for their traditional roles like guarding and staying outside in the rain.

How many men do you find in M-Pesa kiosks? It is usually young girls a lot of the time. The same applies to cashiers in other businesses. They say women attract customers and are trusted more.

Women are now making inroads in traditionally male dominated jobs, from being touts, plant operators, caddying, guarding and more. Men have not shifted to female dominated jobs like nursing, teaching, hairdressing or baby care.

The structural changes in the economy is against men. Our economy is now dominated by services, over 50 per cent of the GDP. Women do better than men in services, from homes to work place.

Add the affirmative action and the precarious situation of men in the job market becomes too evident.

I observed this pattern in developed countries, the reason Kenyan women “disappear” in western countries such as UK and USA. A woman aged 60 can do so much in social services, which men cannot because of pride and nature of work.

Some observers think the scarcity of jobs for men is leading them to crime to prove their worth. Noted the scarcity of women in gangs?

Some argue that with time the market will balance itself out as skills, more than gender, become the determining factor in entrepreneurship. Women will, however, have to contend with a shortage of quality marriageable men. Economically deprived men are not popular marriage mates. While men would be happy to have a housewife, few women can boast of a house husband.

Will men accept that tables have turned and agree to be followers? Will they join women in the emerging hustles, the same way banks joined M-Pesa, which had threatened to make them close shop?

Whichever way you look at it, the modern man is in deep economic trouble. He must work as hard on the economic front, just as his hunter gatherer predecessors. It is the hard reality, and the sooner he comes to terms with this reality, the better for him and his progeny. Am I unfair to men? Let’s hear from them.  

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