The Men — and Boys — Are Not Alright

Produced by ‘The Ezra Klein Show’

In 1972, when Congress passed Title IX to tackle gender equity in education, men were 13 percentage points more likely to hold bachelor’s degrees than women; today women are 15 points more likely to do so than men. The median real hourly wage for working men is lower today than it was in the 1970s.And men account for almost three out of four “deaths of despair,” from overdose or suicide.

These are just a sample of the array of dizzying statistics that suffuse Richard Reeves’s book “Of Boys and Men.” We’re used to thinking about gender inequality as a story of insufficient progress for women and girls. There’s a good reason for that: Men have dominated human societies for centuries, and myriad inequalities — from the gender pay gap to the dearth of female politicians and chief executives — persist to this day.

[You can listen to this episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.]

But Reeves’s core argument is that there’s no way to fully understand inequality in America today without understanding the ways that men and boys — particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds — are falling behind.

So I wanted to have Reeves on the show to take a closer look at the data on how men and boys are struggling and explore what can be done about it. We discuss how the current education system places boys at a disadvantage; why boys raised in poverty are less likely than girls to escape it; the fact that female students are twice as likely to study abroad and serve in the Peace Corps as their male peers; Reeves’s policy proposal to have boys start school a year later than girls; why so few men are entering professions like teaching, nursing and therapy — and what we can do about it; why so many boys look to figures like Jordan Peterson and Andrew Tate for inspiration; what a better social “script” for masculinity might look like and more.

You can listen to our whole conversation by following “The Ezra Klein Show” on Apple, Spotify, Google or wherever you get your podcasts. View a list of book recommendations from our guests here.

(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

Credit…The New York Times

“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Sonia Herrero. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Carol Sabouraud and Kristina Samulewski.

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