Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Women Taking Over Nation's Colleges?

In the year 2003, 49% of college graduates in the workforce were women. In 2006, women make up 55% of the college population. Perhaps more alarmingly, male students are three times more likely than females to be enrolled in special education. I think we can expect that women will make up an ever larger proportion of the group of college graduates within the US economy.

There is much speculation as to why this might be so. Young men may no longer be pressured to enter higher education the way they once were. At least in my circle of friends, males were not ensured of a high-paying job if they completed a bachelor's degree. Maybe male high school graduates are turning to the military or the trades for careers instead. Males outnumber females in these professions- and although females are not barred from these pursuits (construction, electric, HVAC, plumbing), many don't consider them as a matter of course. There is at the same time (since the 1960's), a growing expectation that women will need to work outside the home. With income disparities between the genders, attending college can be viewed as a way to gain that extra competitive edge.

Less convincingly, some suggest that the activities contemportary young males are involved in, such as playing videogames and sports, do not encourage the pursuit of scholarly goals. Sports are surely nothing new to the American male mindset, and playing cowboys and indians (whether outside, or virtually on the game console) is an age-old tradition. Would we suggest that dressing up, and playing with dolls would conversely encourage college attendance?

While it's interesting to wonder about the causes about our current higher education gender proportions, it may be even more fun to predict how the situation will play out in our society. Will women increasingly find their roles as the nation's administrators, consultants and managers? Will men play the role of insectoid drones, toiling to do the bidding of the new queens until they outlive their usefulness and are put to death? Well... perhaps the latter case is a bit too "cyberpunk"... but we should never say never.

It is safe to say that young co-eds won't necessarily expect to find their marriage partner at the University. Female students will have to socially compete for the dwindling sample of males. For the losers, couplings will not necessarily reflect cultural or educational parity. Maybe they will form spinster sisterhoods of higher learning enclaves. Or otherwise, they can learn to love the local football team.

Perhaps we can expect to see a slight shift in the primary breadwinner demographic. Maybe more men will opt to stay at home and look after the kids? (Or pretend to do so while they stay at home with their Playstation and ESPN) More realistic a scenario is a continuing belief that our changing economy requires two incomes... and all bets are off as to who does what around the house.

5 Comments:

Anonymous jefg said...

You think predicting how this (an abundance of more educated males than females) will play out in society's future is "fun"? Unless you'll doing a Letterman's Top Ten list, that endeavor doesn't strike me as fun at all.

I understand your comparing boys playing Cowboys and Indians and computer games (both sports and shot-em-up) to girls playing with dolls...on the other hand, girls usually stop playing with dolls by early teen. Alot of guys carry the game thing into their twenties and beyond, often into the work setting. I do think there is a big difference in the productivity of high school and college age guys if you look at free time devoted to other than the games of youth.

I wonder if the anthropologists/sociologists/geneticists could make a case for the contiunuing of the intellectual advancement of women leading to genetic superiotity over time (time being hundreds or thousands of years of course).

Ut oh, what about the possibility that in the future, it will be us males that will have to work harder in business than women to get where women get to.

OK, so now I'm seeing where the "fun" comes in.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

It is certainly going to be more fun for those men who choose the intellectual path. I encourage more men to waste their time following sports and playing video games. Gives me a competitive advantage. (Not that I'm in any position to use it...)

2:49 PM  
Blogger Dagrims said...

I "waste" a lot of my free time following sports and playing video games. Can't say that I feel that I've lost out on too much. To be honest, many of the most addicted video game players are among the smartest in the population.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

Dagrims,

My comment was about 75% tongue-in-cheek. Certainly there are all levels of "following" a sport. Watching games on tv with beer-in-hand, and rooting for the home team is just one level... while analyzing the numbers and probabilities... buiding fantasy teams through resource management... that's another thing entirely.

The same thing applies to video/computer games. What kinds of games are you talking about? The stereotype in society of the video game player is the guy that blazes a joint, or drinks a six-pack, orders a pizza, and spends the night playing first person shoot-em-ups.

Perhaps your friends are playing a different sort of game?

I guess the question at issue would be, "How does this activity further my intellectual and/or educational development?"

9:55 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

Oh, and by the way... you wrote...

"To be honest, many of the most addicted video game players are among the smartest in the population."

Do you know this from anecdotal experience, or can you point me to a source that supports this statement?

Because I have met some dumb-assed video game addicts.

9:58 PM  

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