First, there will be great changes in the workplace. In the past 30 years, there has been an enormous increase in the number of women in all levels of management. That will continue. The greatest change will be at the very top. Currently, the percentage of women CEOs at the largest 1,000 corporations in the United States and at the largest 5,000 corporations in the world is very small—less than 10 percent. That number will increase dramatically in the coming decades.
There has always been a direct correlation between level of education and income, with college graduates earning significantly more than high school graduates. Those with master's degrees earn even more. Given the current 60-40 female-to-male ratio at colleges, this means that in the next two decades there will finally be gender equality of income, as an increasing number of women will earn more.
These workplace changes will be dramatic and will alter many aspects of work and wealth. However, the social implications of this ratio could be quite profound as well. With women finally gaining parity in management and income, will fewer women decide to become mothers? Will women easily accept marriage to men of lower income and employment status? Will the entire framework of the family be rethought? While the model of the nuclear family that the baby boomer generation was born into is no longer the status quo, will it start to move in the other direction, with an increasing amount of men becoming the stay-at-home parent because it would be too costly for the wife to stop working? It is very probable that all of these social changes will occur.
It is often thought that the seeds of the information age were sown when the G.I. Bill allowed millions of World War II veterans to get college educations. This was the underpinning of the subsequent knowledge economy and it changed the face of our country. This new 60-40 ratio in higher education is going to bring about a similar level of change in the next 50 years.
What do you think about this education split between men and women? What changes do you see happening?
David Houle is an award-winning futurist and strategist who has launched successful brands and is an in-demand speaker about the future. He writes the popular futurist blog Evolution Shift and lives his life slightly ahead of the curve.
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