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The Effect of Women

By Dr John Sydenham

The really big change in British society over the past 50 years is in the role of women.  The article below will describe what the workplace was like in 1970 and how it has changed to be like it is today.

What was working life like in 1970?  The 1970s industrial workplace usually had men in management positions and where women occurred they were in the minority or were casual workers.  However, this was changing. In the retail industry women were rapidly become predominant and in white collar jobs the proportion of women was rising rapidly, especially in teaching.  This increase in the proportion of women had a huge effect.

Pirelli Garage Wall 1973
In 1970 all garages had a back room with oil stained surfaces and at least one, large picture of a naked, pneumatic woman's body on the wall. 

At this time most engineering factories would have men standing at their machines and they might shout "throw us the fucking chuck key" which would then sail through the air to the worker in need.  Factory floor banter often consisted of the exchange of insults. Political opinions would be examined in the canteen at lunch break - "that fucking Heath is a queer cunt". Even in offices the workers would tend to be in teams based in smaller office rooms and there would often be darts stuck in the notice-board on the wall.  When the boss came in the staff would turn to their desks and when the boss left someone might make a V sign behind their back that did not indicate victory.

The staff room for any school would emit a huge cloud of smoke when the door was opened at the end of break. Any factory or office that let its staff out at lunch would be able to find them in the local pub tucking away a beer of two. 

After school children "went out to play", away from parental control, if Johny came home crying the father might say that Johnny should toughen up. In the playground at school the children would be stopped when fighting if it looked as if it would cause real physical harm.  All except the lowest of working class men enjoyed leaving work "at work" and going home to the clean, controlled atmosphere of the home.

By the late-1980s offices had become largely open-plan as women objected to being shut in with smelly men and feared the darts flying overhead.  Many employers realised that they now had support for the introduction of corporate "values" to encourage the staff to behave corporately.  Many factories had closed but those that remained open instituted "no swearing" policies and actually applied "Health and Safety" (female workers did not feel that a scar on the forehead from a flying chuck key improved their appearance).  In garages the female administration manager demanded that the staff washed their hands before using the kitchen facilities and the nude calendars were removed.  Smoking was banned in the school staff room even before the current, widespread smoking bans because female staff were appalled at smelling like an ashtray.  Malcontents who had always undermined corporate objectives simply because they were imposed by the managerial class were no longer widely supported.

Fighting was completely banned in the playground and physical violence elevated to the worst possible offence, probably indicating mental illness in the child or at least a borderline personality disorder. 

By the Noughties language became an increasing target for disciplinary action.  Why should a worker be allowed to insult another?  Political discussions at work disappeared almost entirely because they made people feel uncomfortable and threatened the edge of acceptable language.  Employers realised that they now had many more members of the workforce who were pleased to be praised publicly and who would dedicate themselves to their profession. Partly in return for time out to deal with family matters and partly as a result of the new, almost vocational commitment amongst staff it became normal for working hours to be extended without pay.  Staff were even expected to deal with emails and phone calls in the evening.  Workers were now grateful for the opportunity to "fulfil themselves through work" rather than grudgingly exchanging services for pay.  Employers realised that a female workforce needed a home from home rather than an escape from home.  It was now possible to ban behaviours because "you would not do that at home" without someone saying "I'm not at fucking home am I?".  

A significant proportion of male behaviour at work in the 1970s would become a criminal offence by the 2010s.  Yet men have just meekly accepted this change because the employers favoured it so there was little they could do.

The greatest effect of women was probably to ban their children from "going out to play".  This had a huge effect on male culture.  It literally stopped the normal development of the adolescent male primate group, allowing the female group huge power.  Men used to see work as an advanced form of male group play but it has now been converted to an extension of female group controlled behaviour.  The men, being deprived of adolescent male group behaviour in their teens, do not even realise what has happened.

This is the first experiment in radically changing human society from one that still bore the traces of a wild primate model to a synthetic model.  It would be interesting to see how this turns out in a century or two.  It is my guess that we are witnessing the first, truly major changes in society due to widespread materialism.  The next phase is the introduction of AI technology which will remove the workplace.  The most likely replacement for the workplace will be domesticated activity for all the humans, directed primarily at safely producing young and elongating lifespan.  This will satisfy the females but there will be increasing calls for male primate behaviour to be restricted yet further.  Only the handful of alpha males will be allowed to behave in a male fashion, as determined by the females. As for the other males, they will need to "embrace their feminine side".  Eventually an enlightened AI governance system will probably reduce the population and turf the whole sorry lot out into nature again.

But what else is there to life other than good food, health, a long lifespan and endless conversations about food, shopping and the foibles of others?


The employment rate has been steady at 75% of the whole working population (aged 16-64) since 1970.  The female employment rate has risen from 52% to 72% in this period.

The jobs occupied by women as they entered the workforce between 1970 and 2020 were mostly previously occupied by men who have now become unemployed. This switch-over from male to female employees was probably the result of the gender pay gap between 1970 and 2000 when employers could get excellent and fully qualified female staff more cheaply that male staff.

The gender pay gap has decreased over the past 30 years. Young women under 30 years old are now not experiencing a pay gap.  The gap seems to occur as women have children and perpetuates as they miss promotion opportunities etc. due to motherhood.

The statistics for divorces show that as women increasingly had independent incomes the divorce rate increased and the marriage rate decreased: In 1992 some 72% of divorces were petitioned by the wife but as the number of marriages has fallen the dissatisfaction of women seems to have fallen so that now 62% of divorces are petitioned by the wife.

Only 3% of marriages are between same sex couples.

The effect of the changes in parental power relations over the past 50 years have been most severe on children who have lost outdoor play and are no longer able to learn about the world of work by taking paid part-time jobs:

The loss of outdoor play is more severe than it appears from the figures above because in 1975 most children played in the street, parks etc. whereas in 2015 they played in fenced and organised play spaces.  Children are now almost never seen "in the wild".

Possibly the biggest effect of women is, and will be, on the freedom of speech that is so essential to democracy:

Schoolteachers are overwhelmingly female  (75%) which means that female values are inculcated into the population.

Women are increasingly influential in society because they control most household spending decisions by value (two thirds in UK) as is shown by this graph and clip from the Harvard Business Review:

"Women make the decision in the purchases of 94% of home furnishings…92% of vacations…91% of homes… 60% of automobiles…51% of consumer electronics"

Women are the engine of the "affluent society" and this, coupled with the insistence on a woman's right to have large families, has had interesting consequences for the global ecosystem and society.

21/8/2017 updated 30/12/21


Almost all of the women who have read this article have been irritated or even outraged.  Apart from the last couple of paragraphs the article is a description of what has happened and is not presenting a strong viewpoint.  So why the anger?  The clue lies in the arguments that I heard about misogynism that contained comments such as "women went to work but men didn't do the cleaning", "how could you expect women to work with such disgusting men". "its not the fault of women that men behaved so badly, it had to stop".  Women who read this article get a feeling that it is trying to make them feel guilty about the changes: it isn't, it is  describing the massive changes that happened to the workplace as women entered it and became more empowered.  Huge changes happened to male, and especially, working class male culture for better or worse.  When something changes it is what went before that is changed.  Suppressing history is cancel culture.

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