men in humanities

We Need More Men in the Humanities

Around the turn of the millennium, American society realized a looming crisis: the lack of female representation in STEM fields. But today we are witnessing a crisis of male leadership in a variety of workplaces. From the president to CEOs of major companies to actors and power players in Hollywood, the past several months have exposed the toxic work environments they preside over or worsen in scandal after scandal. Though different in nature, this crisis is of equal importance as the STEM shortage. Yet, to date, no prominent solutions or interventions have been seriously proposed. In contrast, a quick Google search brings up dozens of programs for girls in STEM, but not one national program appears for boys in the arts and humanities.
latest indicators of the demographics and earnings of public school humanities teachers — most of whom are women and many of whom aren’t paid well — underscore that we need more men in the arts and humanities.
 The Humanities Indicators report that, “As of 2015, women earned 61 percent of all master’s and professional-practice degrees in the humanities and 54 percent of the doctoral degrees in the field.” And the latest report on public school teachers found that “76 percent of humanities teachers were women, the largest share among subject specialists.” When male K-12 role models barely exist in these disciplines, what message does that send to our young boys and men?
You may have heard of Girls Who Code, the National Girls Collaborative Project, the National Math and Science Initiative, the Women in Engineering Proactive Network or the Million Women Mentors. Those programs are increasing the number of STEM graduates over all and injecting some much-needed diversity into the fields.
But our society suffers when boys and men are actively discouraged from pursuing their interests in the arts and humanities. The cycle of toxic masculinity starts early. Boys are often told not to cry or show emotion. They are socially trained to repress it, and they take pride in this false resilience.
the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. In an annual event called “Cops and Docs,” accomplished medical professionals and highly trained police officers take a group trip to the museum. Over the course of the evening, mixed groups of cops and docs look at paintings, sculptures and other works of art, and they then share their answers to a pretty basic question: What do you see?
Another program, “The Art of Perception,” takes police detectives, FBI agents and high-ranking Secret Service and CIA executives to well-known museums and galleries like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Frick Collection to observe works by Picasso, Caravaggio, Edward Hopper and other masters. Program creator Amy E. Herman says the exercise is “not about looking at art. It’s about talking about what you see.
4Humanities, a nonprofit concerned with the role and perception of the humanities in public. For more information, please see: or

more on male students in this IMS blog

1 Comment on men in humanities

  1. Alex
    October 5, 2018 at 6:14 am (2 years ago)

    We need more humanities majors because reality in which we live is cultural. There is no such thing as culture-free reality. In a particular bargaining scenario it is fundamental to understand how strategic thinking is molded by negotiators’ cultural backgrounds. The same to consume behaviours. These activities derive from taste, which is culturally diverse. The existence of multiple realities, as Lévy-Bruhl called this cultural and cogntiive divergence, implies the acceptance of a multi-world reality. Even inside the same organization there are many worlds, as Melville Dalton noted. This is why the sense is central to make organizations truly effective. The organizational effectiveness depends more and more on client satisfaction and, mutatis mutandis, client’s satisfaction depends on the capability of the organization to satisfy their tastes. So, it is essential to know how people think and how they expect products accomplish their (always) cultural needs. This is only possible through a humanistic endeavour, which allows us to assess peoples’ cognitive styles to adjust the supply to demand. Logic cannot explain these styles in all their implications on action. In fact, a big part of our action is illogically motivated, as Dan Ariely points out. I don’t agree that most of our actions are irrational; as anthropologist, as the writer at I believe that most of our actions are non-rational.
    Anthropologically, it is irrational believe that there is only True or False answers. In this point, I agree with psychologist Alfred Korzybski and with his “General Semantics” when he defends that our actions are the last step of very complex biochemical and neurological processes. In the end, the Aristotelian logics only existes in a non-neural or non-biological type of existence. In human world, we know the difference between a map and the territory it represents. Human being continues responding to the consequences of his beliefs, does not matter if they are real or not.


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