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In movies, on TV, and in the reality of the past several centuries, women went to college to find wealthy husbands, at least in the majority of cases. Baring college, women would seek out men who earned "good livings" to support them.
That traditional stereotype, based on statistical fact, has reversed itself, according to a study reported on NPR's Morning Edition this morning. Follows is the start of the story, with full audio and trascript available on the NPR web site. The full story includes a link a download, with charts, statistics and charts from the Pew Research Center.
We found that increasingly, women are more likely to marry husbands who have lower education levels than they do and lower income levels than they do.
- D'Vera Cohn of the Pew Research Center
It is important to note that the study used 1970 and 2007, both years prior to recessions that may have skewed the numbers. During 2008 and 2009 the "great recession" saw, for the first time in US History, more male primary bread-earners lose their jobs than lower level paying jobs for men and women.
Adjusted incomes have not risen with the cost of living over the same period studied, so the need for two income families has drastically increased. With this change women have entered the work place in large numbers, bringing their skills, talents and ambitions into the economic mix. An intesting side note is that in doing so, women entering the work force may have contributed to keeping pay scale growth below increased costs of living.
Commission jobs have seen commission levels drop. International competition and other factors have deceased profit margins. There are many other factors to study in looking at the broader issue of why it is women now earn, on the average, more than their spouse, and why women are seeing and earning college degrees in larger numbers.
A summary of the NPR story follows:
January 19, 2010
The joke used to be that some women went to college to get their M.R.S. — that is, a husband. In sheer economic terms, marriage was long the best way for a woman to get ahead. But a study by the Pew Research Center finds that there's been a role reversal when it comes to men, women and the economics of marriage.
The study compares marriages in 2007 with those in 1970, when few wives worked — and it's no wonder why. Until 1964, a woman could legally be fired when she got married. Even a woman with a college degree likely made less than a man with a high-school diploma.
Many more women are now working, and in a greater variety of jobs. Add to that the decline of gender discrimination, and women's median wages have risen sharply in recent decades even as men's have remained stagnant or fallen.
On top of this — for the first time ever among those age 44 and younger —- more women than men have college degrees.
"Now, women have a completely different point of view," Coontz says. "They say overwhelmingly — 87 percent — that it's more important to have a man who can communicate well, who can be intimate and who will share the housework than to have someone who makes more money than you do."
70 years ago today, December 2, 1942, the first man made nuclear reaction on record, occurred under the stands of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago, in the center of what was at the time the second most populated city in America. No one was sure what would happen, but the US was at war and in need of a new weapon and a new source of power for energy independance. Yes, that political cry goes far back, further back than even the first world war. Fifteen years later to the day, December 2nd, 1957, the first nuclear power plant opened, also in the metro Chicago area. In between, above ground nuclear test by at least four nations, the US dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan, the field of nuclear medicine was born and progress made on technology that would power the first nuclear age aircraft carrier, the Enterprise, scheduled to be decommissioned this week.
As part of an effort to overhaul education in France, President Francois Hollande is proposing the elimination of homework.
In the name of equality, the French government
has proposed doing away with homework in elementary and junior high
school. French President Francois Hollande argues that homework
penalizes children with difficult home situations, but even the people
whom the proposal is supposed to help disagree.
5:30 p.m. and getting dark outside, as kids pour out of Gutenberg
Elementary School in Paris 15th arrondissement. Parents and other
caregivers wait outside to collect their children. Aissata Toure, 20, is
here with her younger sister in tow. She's come to pick up her
7-year-old son. Toure says she's against Hollande's proposal to do away
"It's not a good idea at all
because even at a young age, having individual work at home helps build
maturity and responsibility," she says, "and if it's something they
didn't quite get in school, the parents can help them. Homework is
important for a kid's future."
Toure lives with her son, her little sister and
her mother in public housing near the school. On the surface, it seems
just the sort of family environment that might put a child at a
disadvantage. Yet Toure says she sits down with her son every night,
even though she's in law school and has her own studies.
people want homework because they know that school is very important,
and the only chance — the only possibility — they have to give their
children a better life is if their children succeed at school," says
Emmanuel Davidenkoff, editor-in-chief of L'Etudiant, a magazine and website devoted to French school and education.
An Educational Divide
says the Socialist government doesn't seem to understand the concerns
of the working and middle class and in the name of equality, got it all
"Mostly, wealthy people don't want homework
because when the kids are at home, they make sports or dance or music.
They go to the museums, to the theater. So they have this access to
culture, which is very important," he says. "In poor families, they
don't have that, so the only link they have with culture and school is
Elisabeth Zeboulon sits in her
office over the playground. Today, she's the principal at a private,
bilingual school in Paris, but she spent most of her career in French
public schools. Zeboulon says the centralized French education system
doesn't leave much room for trying different teaching methods.
kids are very different from one place to another, from one school to
another, and we don't have much way of adapting," she says. "And
whenever they start saying, 'Well in this place we could do this, in
that place we could do that,' then you have a lot of people coming up
and saying, 'Look, it's not equal.' "
homework is just part of an effort aimed at making primary and
secondary school a happier, more relaxed place for children. The school
week will be lengthened — currently, French children have Wednesdays off
— but the school day will be shortened. Kids get out so late here
there's no time for extracurricular activities. Basically, French school
is a grind, says Peter Gumbel, author of a scathing book on the
education system in France.
enormous amount of pressure, and it's no fun whatsoever. There's no
sport or very little sport, very little art, very little music. Kids
don't have a good time at all," he says. "And it's not about building
self-confidence and encouraging them to go out and discover the world.
It's much more about, sit down and we'll fill your empty heads with our
rather dull and old-fashioned knowledge."
There's another big reason the French government is making changing school policy a top priority, Gumbel says.
French are discovering — to their horror — that their performance
internationally has been declining over the last 10 years. The French
actually are performing [worse] than the Americans in reading and
science," he says
This is a huge shock, Gumbel says, to a country that long considered itself an education pioneer.
Agatha Christie is the best-selling murder writer of all time, and
has created two of the most renowned detectives in crime fiction — Miss
Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot. Her books were adapted for both big and
small screens. But before she ever wrote Death on the Nile or Murder on the Orient Express, Christie took her own less perilous journey, in 1922, when she set sail on a trip around the world.
Now Christie's grandson, Mathew Prichard, has edited and published the letters she wrote while on that journey, in a new book, The Grand Tour: Around the World with the Queen of Mystery. "I knew her as well as anybody, probably, during the latter half of her life," he tells NPR's Rachel Martin.
and her husband, Archibald, traveled to various British colonies as
part of an expedition aimed at promoting an upcoming exposition of goods
produced in the colonies
"It exhibits all sorts of things
about the 1920s, the first of which, I suppose, is the art of letter
Prichard says. "The other thing is that, of course, whilst you
read the letters you learn about the comparative simplicity of
communications in those days ... no e-mails, hardly any telephones."
Prichard says his favorite letter is one Christie wrote to the 3-year-old daughter she left behind.
darling little girl," he reads, "some butterflies for you from Mummy
and Daddy, and a picture of Pretoria, where Mummy and Daddy are. There
are no choo-choos ... so they will have to stay there for a long time.
Mummy had brought a bottle of burgundy, but now martial law has come,
and they have locked it up in the bar."
Christie's stories, seen with modern eyes, can seem as quaint as that letter — but they still have the power to captivate.
think they are simple. They reflect people who appear in most people's
lives. So people, when they read the books, they feel quite comfortable
with the characters," Prichard says. "They are easily adaptable, whether
to different languages or to television, and I think that you can pick
up an Agatha Christie [book] and in, what, four or five hours, you can
lose yourself in a world of mystery and contentment."
Prichard says he himself still has a bookshelf full of his grandmother's work — his favorite is one of her last books, Endless Night.
"It had this almost eerie feeling that evil really exists, which I know
from talking to her, she really believed in," he says. The book,
though, was less popular than the books that starred Miss Marple and
The cover of The Grand Tour features a
photo of Agatha Christie on a boat, relaxed and happy. That, Prichard
says, reflects Christie's happiness on the trip. "I think it is a
marvelous recreation of life, almost a part of social history that she
gives us a glimpse of in the letters and photographs."