DiscoverThe Ezra Klein ShowThe Men — and Boys — Are Not Alright
The Men — and Boys — Are Not Alright

The Men — and Boys — Are Not Alright

Update: 2023-03-1025


In 1972, when Congress passed Title IX to tackle gender equity in education, men were 13 percentage points more likely to hold bachelor’s degrees than women; today women are 15 points more likely to do so than men. The median real hourly wage for working men is lower today than it was in the 1970s. And men account for almost three out of four “deaths of despair,” from overdose or suicide.

These are just a sample of the array of dizzying statistics that suffuse Richard Reeves’s book “Of Boys and Men.” We’re used to thinking about gender inequality as a story of insufficient progress for women and girls. There’s a good reason for that: Men have dominated human societies for centuries, and myriad inequalities — from the gender pay gap to the dearth of female politicians and chief executives — persist to this day.

But Reeves’s core argument is that there’s no way to fully understand inequality in America today without understanding the ways that men and boys — particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds — are falling behind.

So I wanted to have Reeves on the show to take a closer look at the data on how men and boys are struggling and explore what can be done about it. We discuss how the current education system places boys at a disadvantage; why boys raised in poverty are less likely than girls to escape it; the fact that female students are twice as likely to study abroad and serve in the Peace Corps as their male peers; Reeves’s policy proposal to have boys start school a year later than girls; why so few men are entering professions like teaching, nursing and therapy — and what we can do about it; why so many boys look to figures like Jordan Peterson and Andrew Tate for inspiration; what a better social “script” for masculinity might look like and more.


"Gender Achievement Gaps in U.S. School Districts" by Sean F. Reardon, Erin M. Fahle, Demetra Kalogrides, Anne Podolsky and Rosalia C. Zarate

"Redshirt the Boys" by Richard Reeves

Book recommendations:

"The Tenuous Attachments of Working-Class Men" by Kathryn Edin, Timothy Nelson, Andrew Cherlin and Robert Francis

Career and Family by Claudia Goldin

The Life of Dad by Anna Machin

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at

“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Sonia Herrero. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Carol Sabouraud and Kristina Samulewski.









Sleep Timer


End of Episode

5 Minutes

10 Minutes

15 Minutes

30 Minutes

45 Minutes

60 Minutes

120 Minutes

The Men — and Boys — Are Not Alright

The Men — and Boys — Are Not Alright

New York Times Opinion