In a society where having families is so valued that people are paid to procreate, the plight of the twenty five percent of women of childbearing age* who are single has been paradoxically ignored. On a personal level these women are missing out on both romantic love and on creating families of their own. These factors must surely contribute to New Zealand’s high rates of depression among women*, who have been socialized to desire and expect a partner and children from an early age. Burdened by the financial costs of living alone and with limited family networks many of these women also face lonely, impoverished working lives and retirements.
On a social level the lack of men is also incredibly damaging. It’s a well-known fact that it’s the educated women, searching for equals, who are missing out on finding mates. As a society, we’ve lost out on all the children who could have been born to these intelligent, well-educated women – meaning we’ve lost out on the kids who would have been among our future movers and shakers, solving the leadership problems we’ve been hearing so much about lately. (The Ministry of Education's Competent Children, Competent Learners report reveals that "students whose mothers have high education levels are more likely to start school with high competency levels, and to maintain this high level of performance".) Anyone who’s seen the movie Idiocracy will see the writing on the wall for our economy and culture if we continue down this road. (Watch the opening sequence here to see why.)
Theoretically there is one plus side to the man drought. With our demographic dominance and highly-educated minds women should shortly be ruling New Zealand’s business world (though in the country that made Alasdair Thompson the head of the Employers and Manufacturers Association, it’s certainly not a sure thing). It’s clutching at straws, and no consolation for the huge numbers of women who are searching for nothing more than an equal but are being told that they’re “setting their sights too high” (that’s another eloquent quote from Ms. Russell).
Instead of writing unhelpful articles likely to drive Kiwi women to drink, how about offering some solutions? The man drought has been blamed on many things. Low male education, high male emigration, high female immigration, lower male birth rate and higher male mortality count amongst them. Here are some simple ideas that could surely have us raining men:
- If the problem is exacerbated by female immigrants, why not curb the numbers?
- Even better, why not proactively seek male immigrants?
- Let’s encourage our young men to enter tertiary education
- Let’s encourage our expats to return to New Zealand. Why not remove interest from student loans for those living abroad so that they don’t face massive debts upon coming home?
* One in five women, compared with one in eight men, will have depression over their lifetime.