The Times (UK): Men: The Second Sex?

Men: The Second Sex?
It’s increasingly a woman’s world, as boys and men lose ground at school and at work. A chance to redefine manhood?

…These days, outside top City circles, being a man does not signify first-class status. In much of modern life, maleness means coming second…

…Mark Penn, the author of the influential book Microtrends, has highlighted the phenomenon of what he calls Guys Left Behind: “Sure, most leadership positions are still filled by men, and there are lots of super-achieving men out there,” he says. “But on the other end of the spectrum, serious problems are brewing for the future of men.” According to statistics, he says, men are 15 times more likely to go to prison, more likely to be obese, alcoholic, unemployed and die earlier.

“When it comes to earning what you learn, guys aren’t learning what they need to — women are getting almost 60% of the college degrees conferred… This college gap could be the one that spells the most serious problem for guys, and over time can be at the root of a lot of increased frustration and even crime… The lifestyles and habits that worked so well for men in more dangerous times may not be working so well for them in the information age. In every age from the caves right on through the second world war, it worked for men to take big risks, have short attention spans and be driven by ego. These days, those things are more likely to get in the way of doing a good job.”…

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column: The Declining Soccer Mom by Mark Penn

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
By MARK PENN with E. KINNEY ZALESNE
From The Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
Published October 7, 2009

The soccer mom is in decline.

Married, middle-class but working suburban moms whose primary concern is how to enrich their children while they are away at work are declining in numbers, in influence and even as a key swing vote.

New preliminary 2008 census figures show that the percentage of households with their own kids under 18 has hit a record low of 30.7%. This is in sharp contrast to the situation in 1960, when nearly a majority (48.9%) of households had such children.

This is indicative not just of a decline in soccer moms, but in kids and population growth in general. Women are marrying later, developing their careers more, and having fewer children.

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The New York Times Economix Blog: Mark Penn on ‘Guys Left Behind’

Mark Penn on ‘Guys Left Behind’

Mark Penn, the pollster and former adviser to Hillary and Bill Clinton, adds some good thoughts to a subject that has long interested us here at Economix. He writes in The Wall Street Journal:

Sure, most leadership positions are still filled by men, and there are lots of super-achieving men out there. But on the other end of the spectrum, serious problems are brewing for the future of men. You see it in statistic after statistic. Some of these have been true for a long time — others are new and a growing part of the times. But while women have shown some dramatic improvements in health, education and income, men at the bottom end are facing problems that are as bad as ever — and in some areas getting worse….

Mr. Penn cites a range of statistics, on employment, college graduation, alcoholism, drug use, heart disease, car accidents and life expectancy.

The Times: Women are victors in ‘mancession’

Women are victors in ‘mancession’
Gender roles are being rewritten in America as men bear the brunt of job losses

THE economic crisis is sweeping away men’s jobs at a faster rate than those of women in America, heralding the onset of a so-called “mancession”.

New unemployment figures have revealed the biggest gap in jobless rates between men and women for more than half a century. The shifting pattern is redefining gender roles and challenging the status of men as family breadwinners.

…Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s chief strategist during her presidential election campaign, calls the new generation of men “guys left behind”. The ultra-wealthy multi-millionaires still tend to be men, but the pay gap is closing for people in their twenties. Men are also finding themselves in greater numbers at the bottom of the heap.

“There is a statistically significant and growing group of guys who are just not going to make it,” Penn wrote in The Wall Street Journal last week.

Men, he pointed out, are outstripping women in all the “downers” in life – there are more felons, more alcoholics, more drug addicts – and they generally die first. While Penn’s own patron, Clinton, failed to crack the White House glass ceiling, it was unthinkable for Barack Obama to appoint a male Supreme Court justice to replace David Souter – instead he went for Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic nominee…

CNBC Reports: Mark Penn talks about the concerning trend, “Guys Left Behind”


Mark Penn cites statistics that show the traits that worked for men for thousands of years – aggressiveness and risk-taking – are not working for them in the information age, causing men to fall behind women in life expectancy, education, and good health.

Watch the video now at CNBC.

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column: Guys Left Behind (GLBs) by Mark Penn

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
By MARK PENN with E. KINNEY ZALESNE
From The Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
Published June 1, 2009

Guys are simply falling behind these days.

We may not yet have the first woman president, but a look at what is happening with the next generation shows that women are succeeding in an ever-widening range of areas, while there is a statistically significant and growing group of guys who are just not going to make it.

Sure, most leadership positions are still filled by men, and there are lots of super-achieving men out there. But on the other end of the spectrum, serious problems are brewing for the future of men. You see it in statistic after statistic. Some of these have been true for a long time — others are new and a growing part of the times. But while women have shown some dramatic improvements in health, education and income, men at the bottom end are facing problems that are as bad as ever — and in some areas getting worse.

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Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column: Don’t Call Me Middle Class: I’m a Professional!

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
By MARK PENN with E. KINNEY ZALESNE
From The Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
Published May 14, 2009

Not long ago, everyone in America wanted to be a member of the “middle class.” In fact, as many as 53% of Americans described themselves that way to pollsters.

But with the information age and the rise of two-career incomes, being just middle class is a little old hat. The new aspiration for most Americans is to be a member of the new professional class. Rising numbers — as high as 64% — report that they consider themselves “professionals.” The census shows a significant rise over the years, from 4% being professionals and skilled workers in 1910, to 36% today. The numbers have doubled since just 1980.

These new professionals, whose incomes were rising steadily until the financial crisis, have been at the heart of reshaping the country’s economic and political life. Barack Obama more than any other president represents this shift and has uniquely appealed to these Americans. Everyone today wants to be a professional and most people believe they are.

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Forbes: The Latest On Microtrends, an interview with Mark Penn, CEO of Burson-Marsteller

The Latest On Microtrends: An interview with Mark Penn, CEO of Burson-Marsteller

Size matters. But perhaps not always the way we think it does. When politicians and marketers around the globe spend their resources trying to uncover the next big thing, they may be overlooking something even more valuable–the next “microtrend.” That term was coined by Mark J. Penn, chief executive officer of the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller and president of the polling firm Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, and author of the best-selling book Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes…

Forbes spoke with Penn to find out about what some of the next microtrends might be.

Forbes: What exactly is a microtrend?

Penn: A microtrend is a small–but growing and passionate–group of people that is changing the face of society. A microtrend may never grow larger than 3 million people, or roughly 1% of the U.S. population, but those people have unmet needs that they are passionate about. And 3 million passionate people are by far enough to make or break a business, tip an election or trigger social change. So if businesses, politicians and others who would move society want to be on the leading edge, they need to pay attention to these small, growing, counterintuitive groups.

Why should we care about something that represents just 1% of the population?

When you hit that 1%, you can drive a tremendous amount of change. The top-selling car in America makes only about 400,000 sales. If you sell a couple of hundred thousand books, you have a best-seller. Consider that only about 3 million people gave money to President Obama’s campaign. That demonstrates the enormous impact that a small group acting on its passions can have. And that’s just in the U.S. Think about what happens if you sell to 1% of the Chinese population. Or to 1% of India. In these mass societies, and in our globalizing economy generally, 1% of the marketplace is an enormous opportunity.

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Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column: Committed Cohabiters

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
By MARK PENN with E. KINNEY ZALESNE
From The Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
Published February 3, 2009

With all the stimulus ready to go into more broadband, bigger tax cuts and infrastructure, some of America’s most expensive societal investments are also on the decline and in need of a bailout — getting married.

Marriage in America is on the rocks. People skirt the issue, talking about how career women delay marriage until it’s too late, or about how men marry younger the second time around. But the truth is, except for the highest-income Americans among us, fewer and fewer of us are getting married at all.

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Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column: The Impressionable Elites Get Snookered

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
By MARK PENN with E. KINNEY ZALESNE
From The Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
Published December 19, 2008

For most of this century, con men and hucksters preyed on the uneducated and the elderly who couldn’t read the fine print. Some still are.

But now we learn that the real mother lode for con artists is not composed of uninformed dowagers who were left an estate they don’t know how to manage, but rather the Impressionable Elites* of country clubs, and the rarefied hedge fund managers of Wall Street and Greenwich.

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