Patriarchy Alive and Well in Corporate America

Lotsa dudes in dark suits.

Photo by YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

I think my colleague Hannah Rosin raises a lot of good points about women’s progress and especially the radical decline of working class men’s social and economic power. But I find her puzzlement over the persistent idea of the patriarchy to be itself a bit puzzling.

Did you know that women are CEOs of zero of the top ten companies on the Fortune 500 list?

Or that men are CEOs of 954 of the Fortune 1000 companies?

Or that men hold 83.4 percent of the Fortune 500 board of directors seats?

Or that over 80 percent of the richest people in America are men?

Or that there seem to be only two publicly traded companies in the whole country where women are a majority of the board?

When I was tweeting about this yesterday, Ross Douthat asked me to consider the possibility that there are reasons for this other than discrimination. And I’m happy to entertain that hypothesis. But whatever you think the cause of men’s utter domination of the commanding heights of the American economy is, the domination is a fact of life. Men are controlling all the big companies and the big pools of money in this country. That’s your patriarchy right there. If you look around at whose running the show in the American economy it’s a bunch of men. And I find it hard to believe that doesn’t matter.