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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK
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Business woman
Will men become surplus to requirements?
Imagine it is 2020 and women are consistently out-performing men. Imagine they are running... everything.

IF explores the role of women in a changing world.

This online discussion page is now closed, thank you for sending all your comments and opinions.

Surely this is the very antithesis of equality? This situation as proposed by the BBC merely represents a reversal in "traditional" gender roles and as such reflects the problems that women faced with equality some 20-30 years ago, but this time it is being imposed upon men.

At the end of the day it is important to remember that whilst both sexes are physiologically and mentally different, that the existence of human life requires both parties. The elimination of one through artificial processes could be looked upon as nothing short of sexual genocide, as the redundancy of one sex could and would potentially lead to its extinction.

In particular what annoys me is the blame that particular extreme feminists seem to pin against all men. Yes in history the role of women was subservient to men, but you cannot blame contemporary society for this.

Instead of complaining about the lack of equality throughout history, why not focus on taking a proactive stance towards this problem. Complaining doesn't achieve anything, if there is a perceived problem the only way to amend this is to challenge the problem head on.
Chris, London

More left wing rubbish from the BBC. The sooner it's made a private company the better. Men and women can be different and still be equal, one does not have to rule the other.

If women want to expand into the workplace especially at the top levels, then they will need traditional male qualities. CEO's care about profits, not empathy.

Furthermore if you want to bring women into work then grant men the same paternity leave as women and change the law so it does not favour the woman in the event of a couple splitting up.

My main issue with this series (other than the first one which was very good) is that it does not portray events in a light of "this may happen" but one of "this will happen".

We're sick and tired of paying for the sins of our forefathers
Mark, London
Don't get me wrong the show was fun to watch, but the issues raised are not "real", not even a little.
Adam, Berks

As a teacher I have to say that if the aim is to promote equality across the sexes, we need more male teachers and we need to tackle the issue of male underachievement now! We simply cannot afford for half of the population, whether male or female, to become disenfranchised from our society.
Andrew, Eastbourne

It's all very well to turn around and say oppressing men in the future will "show them what women have had to put up with for centuries", but how many men in 2020 would have been responsible for that?

That's like putting all 20 something Germans into concentration camps so that they can "see how horrible they were in WWII". Men have moved on a hell of a lot over the past 40 years, but misandric society still wants to view us in the same way that it remembers our great, great grandfathers.

Get a new stereotype for the men of the 21st Century. We're sick and tired of paying for the sins of our forefathers.
Mark, London

I found the idea of a female American president solving the world's problems by talking about them, rather than sending the troops in, mildly amusing. Doesn't anyone remember what happened in the Falkland Islands when we had a female prime minister?
Adam, London

I agree with the point made by John from Stevenage - women are still attracted to successful men and that doesn't seem about to change.

It follows that if women do become economically more powerful than men then men will be at a double disadvantage in the mating game.

Like most people here I believe in sexual equality but too often this is considered only quantitatively - e.g. equal pay, number of women MPs etc.

Why is equality so rarely considered in relation to control over reproduction and the family - the most fundamental unit of society?

If women do come to dominate the workforce too I would merely ask that they refrain from doing so in the name of equality.
Joe, London

Modern women confuse feminism with personal self-advancement at the expense of everybody around them
SER, Lincoln
Let's hope for a future based upon the aspirations of the youngest daughter in the programme (which only shone through at the very end), rather than those of the mother, and to a lesser extent the eldest daughter too, who both clearly showed that they were trying to be more like "men" than men are themselves.
Mark Redding, Hertfordshire

An interesting program and not as far-fetched as we would like to believe. In many ways it did not go far enough. I see a lot of modern men in today's society.

Modern women confuse feminism with personal self-advancement at the expense of everybody around them. They lack compassion and the ability to compromise. Men and society at large are running scared.

No-one will dare say when something is wrong when it contravenes the female agenda. Feminism and political correctness have gone berserk.
SER, Lincoln

Women should not rule the world. Some of you reading this will assume I'm a chauvinist male, a male who is scared of women or a person who is just old fashioned and/or sexist. The fact is that I am female who likes equality.

Anybody who says that women are superior then men is just plain sexist. So to is anyone who says that men have made a mess of the world and women would not have done so.

I disagree with the comment here saying "at least they know how we felt after centuries of inequality."

I have only been on this planet for 30+ years so I don't have a clue how centuries of inequality feels.

Men and women both have always had stereotyped gender roles thrust upon them. We have many double standards in society now that are against men!

We are responsible for our time here not for the years before we were even born! I don't believe in turning things around completely and having a society which is basically sexist towards men. This battle of the sexes is pathetic.
Najma, London

If the world went the way it did in tonight's programme it will not be a few men who will try to push the scales back, but the majority of men. It will end in violence, unless true equality is sought. Debate will not be an option, it will end in war
Richard, Newcastle upon Tyne
I believe that men and women are to a certain point different in regards to human nature. However society still reproduces gender inequalities by socially constructing stereotypical gender roles, even from the day we are born we dress our children in pink and blue and are taken in by sex role conditioning etc. I would like to see the day when women and men can break these stereotypical assumptions and live their lives how they want to and not how society expects us to.
Rebecca, Nottingham

I thought the programme was pretty fair. I have managed teams of men only, women only and teams with both sexes. The teams of men only were more aggressive, but the team of women only were just as political, just not so aggressive about it. Mixed sex units seem to me to work best. The main point I would like to make is that the programme only considered the western world viewpoint. I don't think the UK economy could support the lifestyles shown as a whole economy cannot be based just upon services and financial services. There is a cost to someone to supply all the childcare services and we are already not competitive in the world economy in many areas.
Richard Moore, Cambridgeshire

I think tonight's programme was a little restrained when it came to the reality of what will happen if women overtake men in society. We already have legislation in place to promote the advancement of women in society, one needs only to look at the application forms for any job, each now has an equal opportunities monitoring section. The figures collated from this information is used to send warning signals if not enough minorities, be they women, ethnic, religious, or sexual, are employed in this country.

The programme stated that women have skills which are better suited to the new working environment, this is inaccurate. We, that is men, are afraid to promote ourselves for fear of being branded sexist, or old-fashioned, we are already at a point where we see our life potential side-lined and our rights as human beings tightened.

We are ridiculed in the press, laughed at by the media and ignored by the courts. If the world went the way it did in tonight's programme, then by 2020, it will not be a few men who will try to push the scales back to a level, but the majority of men. It will end in violence, unless true equality is sought. Debate will not be an option, it will end in war.
Richard, Newcastle upon Tyne

This is an important and complex issue that deserves a far more intelligent treatment than it was given by either the programme or a few of the combative respondents below. I'm very disappointed that what could be a fascinating and productive debate has been reduced to populist mud-slinging
Jan, London

Women have a craving to dominate men, and given the chance, will bask in desensitising their male counterparts.
Henry Rotstein, London

During the programme there was mention of the ability of elderly men to father children and that there should be the same ability for women. Has anyone given any thought about the children of elderly parents? Young children benefit from young parents who are able to take part and contribute in a positive way to their activities, be they sport, school curriculum, current affairs etc. A large age gap cannot be conducive to social integration
Norma Makin, Banchory, Kincardineshire

I was under the impression that the feminist movement was about equality not power. Tonight's programme saw the psychiatrist mention that men are and would become more aggressive towards women. Wake up, that has been happening forever. Maybe we are more aware of it because women are gaining confidence that they do not have to put up with it any longer and can be independent of the male breadwinner model. The apparent crisis with masculinity should be channelled into how men can adapt. Women have been oppressed for centuries and am sure never received this much media attention!
Sherry, Portsmouth

As an old women's lib campaigner I would think that, as women are the carers, wouldn't they have stopped the use of cigarettes, drugs, weapons etc by 2020?
J Morris, Lincoln

Most men are willing to marry an unemployed woman. How many women would be willing to do the same? Most of the ones I've heard talking seem to desire someone with an equal or greater income than their own. Employed men who look after their unemployed wives take the strain off of the welfare system. If women are not willing to do this (because of a genetic desire to look for a strong mate) then it will cause problems in a way that IF did not address.
John, Stevenage

My mother always said she would disown me if I came home pregnant in my teens. My current thinking is this is not such a bad idea. I'll let you know what happens if my daughter tells me she's pregnant at 16!
Louise Faulkes, Kingston, Surrey
To me, feminism must be much more than simply allowing women equal access to the world of work and power. It should also be about the ability of men to make choices for themselves, to live beyond the confines of being a breadwinner for a family. Feminism must be about people of both genders being able to live their lives in a fulfilling way, rather than constrained by roles defined by which "bits" they have.
Michelle, Tottenham

I'm a 37-year-old woman with two young children. I was bought up to believe in a good education and consequently obtained a degree and a good job. I worked part time after the birth of my first child and was subsequently made redundant. I do feel cheated. I see young women becoming pregnant only to face the terrible challenges that I faced - i.e. work vs. home - what can we do?

My mother always said she would disown me if I came home pregnant in my teens. My current thinking is that this is not such a bad idea. You have the support of your family, you are young, you are healthy, you have energy and you have time on your hands to develop your career later on if you wish.

I'll let you know what happens when my daughter tells me she's pregnant at 16!!!
Louise Faulkes, Kingston, Surrey

I feel the world would be a better place. I love women so much.
Pete, Nottingham

I'm 26, have a degree and postgraduate qualifications, but having tried it, I really don't want it all. Hopefully I'll be having kids by the time I'm 30 - somewhat of a record amongst my parents' friends - as long as years of the contraception pill filtering through our water system hasn't left my fiancÚ infertile!
Susan, Birmingham

Could I live without women? No. Could women live without men? Probably.
Graham, Glos.

I work in a furniture warehouse, if women want equality, they can come and do my job one day, lets see how many sofas they can carry in a day
Lee, Rainham, Essex

Men will always have a place in society because there are certain jobs women just are not suited to or will not do!
Chris White, Durham
Political correctness is madness, and so are equality laws which actually cause positive discrimination. That's why it's my belief that job application forms should not include the first name, age, ethnic origin or sex of a prospective employee, as these have no real bearing on a candidate's suitability for a job, and would be a real step towards true equality. Men and women are different, there is no changing that. But they are also equal - humanity is not complete without either one.
ESD, Lowestoft, Suffolk

There will be an explosion in violent crimes against females, such as spontaneous physical attacks on women in the street. It will be the only way a sick part of marginalised men will be able to regain a small part of their dominance back, albeit temporarily and self-destructively.
John, London

More like 1920 than 2020! It's nothing new that women are beginning to dominate the workplace, but as for the home structure.... why was it never mentioned that men take on the role of family care? This programme did nothing more than re-institutionalise the patriarchal defence that women belong in the home. Moreover, fewer and fewer women are choosing to have children unless men can take a more contributory role.
Louise, N.Ireland

I can't see women ruling the world, I'm sorry, I just can't see a woman wearing blue overalls installing a computer network or fixing a leak in the kitchen sink etc. Men will always have a place in society because there are certain jobs women just aren't suited to or won't do!
Chris White, Durham

I feel that the most important change we need to make as a species is to create with harmony, cooperation, sharing and reverence for all of life - whether you are a man or a woman. At the moment I believe that the majority of those capable of living in this way are women, as we are more emotionally open, sensitive and empathic. Bringing emotional literacy, self-responsibility and compassion into parenting and education for boys and girls would be a great start. Males are capable of being as empathic and emotionally sensitive as females, the difference at this time in history, is that for males it is still seen as the woman's role. We must all choose together to create our world from a place of love and compassion, rather than feat and aggression.
Hara Willow, Wirral

Men are just as important to society as women but now at least they know how we felt after centuries of inequality.
Bern, Aberystwyth

The scary thing is the genetic issue, picking and choosing DNA and genetics of children is so wrong!
Jake, London

Male or female, we all spend too much time working now and forget about social and family lives. Sort that out first!
CT, Scotland

I'd just be happy if my male boss would stop ignoring my opinion just because I'm a woman.
Kay, Northampton

Why can't we just accept that men and women are equal, different, but equal?
Karen, Hull

Some female bosses go over the top and spoil it for decent female bosses.
John, Oldham

Women want their freedom like everybody else.
Margaret, London

Teach 'em to drive first!
Billy, Eltham
Misogyny is fuelled by fear and inadequacy, women hating men will hardly help.
Ashley, Chiswick

This is sexist nonsense that is implicitly suggesting that male violence towards women has been brought on by the feminist movement.
Alex, Canterbury

Get a grip men! Look at the mess you have made of the world.
Mich, London

Maybe the world will be more humane and compassionate.
Ian, Cornwall

Teach 'em to drive first!
Billy, Eltham

A big yes to equal rights in pay etc but there are many roles in life that cannot, and should not, be done by men and visa versa. VIVE LA DIFFERENCE!
Martin, Gloucester
This has been a really interesting series; however I believe that an open debate with various experts and also with members of the general public would have enhanced its value greatly.

Without proper debate there is no means to explore possible ways of ensuring we don't get into the ruts put forward in each programme and surely that's the most constructive way to move forward?

I'm certain that the business people who use this system don't just put the worst case scenario on the table and just sit there looking at it.
Silvana Kelleher, London

Hear, hear Nicki from Southampton! Next to religion the biggest blight on our society is political correctness. Men and women are different, always have been and always will be. That's the way nature intended it to be. A big yes to equal rights in pay etc but there are many roles in life that cannot, and should not, be done by men and visa versa. VIVE LA DIFFERENCE!
Martin, Gloucester

One sometimes hears women say that, if they were in charge, they'd sort out all the world's problems. Sadly, I think this view is naive. The old adage of "absolute power" etc would apply to women just as it applies to men. They might not make the same mistakes as men, but they'd still make mistakes.

And, just because women have endured centuries of oppression does not automatically ensure that, in power, they would be more sensitive to the needs of others.

One doesn't have to look very far in this world to see that even when people suffer a terrible trauma, they don't automatically become paragons of virtue.
Mark Headey, Chester

The stark truth is that war isn't fought between the sexes - it is between armies. Ask the Tutsis, ask the Croatians, ask the victims of Pol Pot or Hitler.

Like it or not the main factor that determines the survival of your genes is how good your men are at fighting wars - and that depends upon how readily philosophy/religion or shared paranoia binds men and women together in a common purpose.

The battle between the sexes is a side-show, an entertainment that has been made possible by the surplus wealth that has been the product of the stability that has been derived from the long term military success of the liberal West. If you give enough people enough money, they will fight over anything - or even nothing.

Most of the world's population are struggling to acquire the basic things in life - and the most important of those is security, not sexual equality.
Mark Thomas, Redhill

I think that such a scenario is possible, if men sit back and do nothing. However it is more and more likely that women, rather than men would be the first to raise an issue of male inequality in the future.

Statistic after statistic has shown that young girls and women are now smoking more, eating more unhealthily and will soon out drink and "out drug" young men in the near future. This will not be the result of any so called male "oppression", but a nasty product of the excesses of feminism, and it will be other women who will bring this to attention.

Many of the female bosses I've worked for have been obsessed with the power
Tracy Hollowood, Manchester
We have to learn to reach a balance, women can't have it all and men can't have everything. The age-old equality pendulum will swing both ways until it finally settles.
Andrew F Leitch, Glasgow

A world without men would be terrible! The Democrats would just keep winning office and there'd be no wars, and...this bothers me the most...there'd be all kinds of social aid for everyone! Never! I'll die before I live in a world like that!
Emad, Philadelphia, USA

Freeze your eggs and thaw them when you're ready! Genetic donors! Clone yourself madam? Only after you have gathered enough material wealth to satisfy, and of course pay for our services.

Designer babies? Only the best of the best will be kept of course, and of those we can change at whim to our new design standard.

And let's not talk of painful messy labour, that's so 2010. I'll pick her up in a month when she's complete.

Can somebody stop the world now? I wanna get off before it goes to hell.
Lenny, Bridgend

God help us if women were allowed to rule the world!

As a woman I have always preferred to work for male bosses as they always seem to be fairer and straight with you.

Many of the female bosses I've worked for have been obsessed with the power and at times could be incredibly vindictive.

Women want it all ways. They want the top jobs and equal pay but don't want to offer the same rights in a divorce situation. Then, women want the kids and the house in which to move the new man into. They then block the father's contact with his kids by using a restraining order as a removal tool. Oh and not forgetting they then take all his money!

A big thumbs down to women ruling the world. I'd prefer to live in a world where men and women are treated equally.
Tracy Hollowood, Manchester

Perhaps the balance - for so long swung towards men's advantage - has to swing the other way for a while. One certainly doesn't have to look very far to find women happy to tell us men how redundant we're apparently becoming and how superior are women.

However, the fact that men and women are undeniably different - not only biologically but also emotionally, mentally and creatively - is our species' strength.

Fantastic! Can't wait!
Martin, Northern England
How often have we heard women say that men never grow up? This is actually an important point. The playful, creative element that men retain is, if used constructively, one of the things that drives us forward to invent, to progress, to explore.

By the same token, men who complain about women's "control" over the family are actually highlighting an essential factor in successful family life. And let's not forget, both men and women possess elements of all these qualities.

So let's not restrict ourselves too much by making sweeping judgements about sex. Look what a mess we've made by judging people by their colour, religion, age and so on.

Forget political correctness - let's use respect instead. Enough said, I'm off to sulk.
Simon Elvin, Plymouth

Fantastic! Can't wait!

I'll wave my wife off to work each morning, knowing that she won't be back until 8pm or later that evening.

Let's try to compliment each other equally, it's not a war!
Nicki, Southampton
I can then watch morning TV over a leisurely breakfast, pop down to the gym for a workout and then meet up with my mates (who are also fellow down-trodden house-husbands) in the pub for a decent lunch.

I can then go shopping for a new car in the afternoon and plan the weekend fishing trip to Ireland at the travel agents. In the evening, I can then tell my wife what a busy, busy day I have had before retiring to bed with a decent book and a headache.
Martin, northern England

We will always need men, and men will always need us. We have become unbalanced, which isn't good for anyone.

As a mother of sons and daughters, I worry more about my son's future than my daughter's. I don't like the way women have changed.

I think we are doing a disservice to both sexes. And no, I am not a pinny-wearing 1950s throwback, I have always been a staunch feminist, but I would like to celebrate being a woman, not try to become a man. Vive la difference. Let's try to compliment each other equally, it's not a war!
Nicki, Southampton

The death of feminism?
31 Mar 04  |  If


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