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UNC professor warns declining role of men in society is a problem

Posted February 15, 2019 3:45 p.m. EST
Updated February 16, 2019 8:36 a.m. EST

— When UNC-Chapel Hill business school professor James Johnson travels the country making speeches, he focuses on what he sees as a major problem. He wonders what is happening to men in American society.

"The disability rate has doubled, their wages have declined. Most importantly the sex ratio and balance at the higher education level has been 60/40 for a decade," said Johnson.

Johnson's university is right near the average with women making up 59 percent of the student body.

He said college is just the beginning and the gap can lead to bigger problems as men and women enter the workforce and eventually look to start families.

"We have large numbers of women for who the eligibility pool of marriageable men no longer exists," Johnson said.

He points to poor performance in grade school, high incarceration rates and discrimination as some of the factors leading to the change. He said it's something we should all pay attention to, not because it's bad for women to be earning seats at the table, but because he thinks it's better for society to use all available resources.

"It's a huge waste of talent if we don't invest in it. We are not going to win in the global competitiveness on brawn, we are going to win on brains," he said.

Robert Chadwick sees this firsthand. He's a success coach at the South Atlantic Family resource center.

"Mainly what pulled me to it is just the passion. The passion of knowing that there's a need for positive people, especially males in today's society," Chadwick said.

Males, he said, are suffering from a lack of information about how important college or trade school can be.

"Myself, I'm a college graduate, but the neighborhood that I come from and the area that I come from a lot of my friends didn't go to school," Chadwick said.

He leads a fatherhood workshop weekly as a way to educate men and get them to set a good example for the next generation of boys.

"If you are fortunate enough to become a father, be that father to your child, be in place. Be that person that your child wants to emulate," Chadwick said.

It's a small step in trying to change a demographic shift with many complex factors.