Why men should go to space

Bohicon, Benin - September 8, 2012: People crossing the street in the busiest market junction in town. [File]

An occasional walk in downtown Nairobi shakes me back to reality.

I recall my first visit there decades ago and seeing beggars all over, but everyone seemed to ignore them, contrary to my upbringing - to be kind and compassionate to the less fortunate members of society. 

In my recent walk, I noted women have taken over the shoe-shining business. On the golf course, they have taken over caddying. They are even on construction sites, pushing wheelbarrows.

Strangely, shoeshine booths should be on the rise. Car ownership reduces the demand for shoe polish. Maybe shoe shinning shows we are still a hustling nation. 

A bigger question is where men are going after being displaced by women in the job market and the boardrooms. There are two possible routes. One is that disempowered men could turn to crime to show they have power.

The "powerless" are likely to join gangs. Substance abuse from alcohol to drugs is another refuge for such men. They could live for today, seeking pleasure and instant gratification.

That creates a shortage of "quality men" when it comes to marriage. Girls, do you notice that? Do prison statistics support that? 

The second option is for men to update, seek higher skills and leave lower skills for women. But data on enrollment in higher education shows women are closing the gap even in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Affirmative action in the workplace also seems to play against men. 

Men have another exit strategy - go to the moon or exoplanets!  There is probably more space there, less competition and more chances of restarting their lives. I'm being too hard on men? How can I be when I am one of them?