The Educational Gender Gap is Getting Wider
Women are considerably outpacing men in college attendance and
degree attainment, according to a new research report commissioned
by The Business Roundtable and conducted by Northeastern University's
Center for Labor Market Studies.
The report shows that after lagging behind men in the 1960s
and 1970s, women achieved equality in college attendance rates
in 1978 and have done better ever since. Nearly two million more
women now are attending colelge than men and are acquiring far
more certificates and associates', bachelor's, and master's degrees.
The gaps prevail for all major race/ethnic groups, age groups,
and states; moreover, the Center expects the gap to widen over
the current decade.
Highlights from the report, entitled The Growing Gender
Gaps in College Enrollment and Degree Attainment in the U.S. and
Their Potential Economic and Social Consequences, include
For each year from 1993 to 2000 nationally,
the number of full-time and part-time female college students
exceeded the number of men, with the ratios ranging from 123
women per 100 men in 1993 to 128 women per 100 men in 2000.
In the latter year, 1.87 million more women than men were enrolled.
Projections by the U.S. department of Education indicate that
by 2010, the gender gap will grow to 138 women enrolled for
every 100 men.
In 2000, the gender gap was highest among African
Americans (166 women per 100 men in college), with Hispanics
secon (130-100) and whites third (126-100).
Gender gaps exist within every major age group.
There were 132 women for every 100 men aged 25-29 in college
in 2000; the ratio rose to 173-100 for persons 35 and older.
Enrollment gender gaps exist in all states.
In 2000, the five states with the widest enrollment gaps were
maine (154 women per 100 men), Delaware (151-100), Alaska (149-100),
Mississippi (144-100), and South Carolina (143-100). The five
states with the smallest gaps in 2000 were Utah (98-100), North
Dakota (102-100), Colorado (115-100), and Montana and Indiana
(each with 116-100).
In addition to enrollment gaps, women also stay in college long
enough to acquire degrees at substantially higher rates than men.
Officials at the Center noted that the growing gender gaps in
degree attainment are quite astonishing particularly when viewed
in the context of the substantial economic advantages for men
to acquire post-secondary credentials. Key findings on degree
attainment include the following:
In 1999-2000, women received 151 associate's
degrees for every 100 awarded to men, 133 bachelor's degrees
for every 100 awarded to men, and 138 master's degrees for every
100 awarded to men.
The degree attainment gender gap will continue
to widen. The National Center for Education Statistics has projected
that by the 2009-2010 school year, women will receive 173 associate's
degrees and 142 bachelor's degrees for every 100 awarded to
Gender gaps in degree attainment exist among
every major race/ethnic group, but are largest for African Americans.
In 1999-2000, the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to women
for every 100 men ranged from 117 among Asians to 131 among
whites to a high of 192 among African Americans.
Women earned more associate's and bachelor's
degrees in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Women continue to lag in obtaining professional
and doctorate degrees, but the gaps are closing fast. In 1976-77,
there were only 23 women with professional degrees for every
100 men; in 1999-2000, the ratio was 81-100 and the projected
ratio for 2010 is 97-100. In 1976-77, there were only 32 women
with doctorate degrees for every 100 men; in 1999-2000, the
ratio was 79-100.
The report can be viewed in its entirety at http://www.brt.org.