So Much for 2020 Vision

Daily Mail (London), April 1, 2004 | Go to article overview

So Much for 2020 Vision


Byline: PETER PATERSON

If... It Was A Woman's World (BBC2)

A MIXTURE of wishful thinking and a selective extrapolation of today's trends that would do credit to Keith Waterhouse's Department of Guesswork enabled last night's latest dramadocumentary in the If...

series to predict that women will be running pretty well everything by 2020.

If... It Was A Woman's World (the use of the singular was surely misleading now that Mrs Thatcher is no longer in sole charge) projected such talking points from today as the backwardness of boys at school, the decline in industrial jobs requiring physical strength and advances in reproductive science to postulate a society dominated by women.

Take today's Families Need Fathers demonstrators, who halt the traffic by climbing cranes to draw attention to unfair rights of access to their children after divorce.

In 16 years' time, so we learned, they will have become a guerilla organisation - the Men's Movement - inclined to black out listed TV programmes and monopolise the screen to get their slightly menacing message across - that they're angry, and angry men do dangerous things.

Deprived of outlets for their aggression and violence at work, men will not just take to the airwaves, but go to the woods at weekends to fight mock battles, maybe - my conjecture - training for a future man-woman war.

'Masculinity will be a condition that dare not speak its name,' asserted the commentary, and scientist Steve Jones was wheeled on to list a few creatures which have eliminated the masculine from their genes, implying that one day human males, whose sperm count is already plummeting, won't be needed at all.

Thanks to 'the reworking of human biology', divorced businesswomen in their 50s will by then be able to choose to have babies after the menopause by using eggs or embryos frozen when they were 18 and at their most fertile (though for the main character in If... the advance planning would have had to start two years ago).

If they're British, these matronly mothers will still look enviously at their Japanese sisters, who won't even have to carry a child, thanks to the development of artificial wombs: just a daily visit to the hospital would be required to see how the pregnancy is proceeding.

Most companies will be run by women, because, as one contributor put it, by 2020 'emotional skills developed by women over hundreds of years will be as important as the ability to read a balance sheet': not the most thrilling of news for investors.

Men will have to develop these skills for themselves or they'll find themselves outmanoeuvred by women: even the rare promotion of a male within a firm will be condemned by his women rivals as illegal positive discrimination.

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So Much for 2020 Vision
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