Monday, December 14, 2009

College Admissions: Discrimination Against Women


WASH POST -- Civil rights investigators will soon begin reviewing admissions data from a sampling of colleges in the Washington region to determine whether, after decades of progress toward sexual equity, female students have become so plentiful in higher education that institutions have entered a new era of discrimination against them.

Women apply in greater numbers than men to most colleges in the D.C. area. They make up at least three-fifths of the applicant pool at a number of schools, including the College of William and Mary in Virginia, Goucher and St. Mary's colleges in Maryland and American University in the District.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that some schools are favoring men by admitting them at higher rates than women to try to preserve a male-female balance on campus. Conventional admissions-office wisdom dictates that colleges dominated by either sex are less appealing to applicants in general.

William and Mary admitted 43 percent of its male applicants and 29 percent of its female applicants in fall 2008, according to its institutional data. Vassar College in New York's Hudson Valley admitted 34 percent of the men who applied and 21 percent of the women. Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania admitted 19 percent of male applicants and 14 percent of female applicants. Wesleyan University in Connecticut admitted 30 percent of the men and 25 percent of the women. Female applicants far outnumbered male candidates at all four schools.

Over the past 40 years, women have gone from underrepresented minority to overrepresented majority on U.S. college campuses, where they outnumber men by a proportion approaching 60-40 (see chart above). Barriers that kept women from college have been swept away, and scholarly focus has shifted to the impediments facing men, who are more likely to drop out of school and more apt to go into the military, manual-labor jobs or prison.

8 Comments:

At 12/14/2009 5:16 PM, Anonymous Rand said...

It would seem to me that the governmental civil rights agencies that are investigating discrimination against women in college and university admissions are now an unnecessary waste of the taxpayer's money now that women represent 60% of college and university graduates.

 
At 12/14/2009 5:32 PM, Anonymous Lyle said...

Recall that there is a long history of quotas in higher ed. In particular until the 1950s the number of Jewish students getting into non jewish colleges was limited. I suspect today there is some limit on the number of folks of Asian backgrounds again for diversity reasons. The note points out that there is a dymamic between diversity and the meritocracy.

 
At 12/14/2009 6:19 PM, Anonymous Dr. T said...

Part of the reason for the increase in women on campus is that most of the expansion has been in 'soft' majors such as history, culture/anthropology, sociology, psychology, criminology, political 'science', English, business, etc. Engineering, architecture, and science majors have not expanded nearly as much. The only 'hard' majors to expand significantly are in computer-related fields.

All things being equal, there should be a glut of graduates with BA degrees in 'soft' majors. But, no glut exists. Therefore, businesses must be hiring people for jobs outside their majors. This provides support for the signaling theory of higher education: it's not the learning that counts, it's the fact that you finished four years of college. Socially, signally always has mattered more to women than men, so this gives today's women another advantage.

 
At 12/15/2009 4:14 AM, Blogger randian said...

Female applicants far outnumbered male candidates at all four schools

Is this supposed to be important? I seem to recall that when people objected to defacto quotas for women being imposed under Title IX, the argument being that "more men than women want to play sports and that's why there are more positions for men in college sports", the greater numbers of men who want to play sports was deemed irrelevant.

 
At 12/15/2009 9:03 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

So, are these idiot "civil rights" agencies attempting to argue AGAINST policies they supported when it was in the favor of women?

 
At 12/15/2009 9:08 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> This provides support for the signaling theory of higher education: it's not the learning that counts, it's the fact that you finished four years of college.


Translation:
You were willing to put up with all that ridiculous college BS for four years, so you'll be actually happy putting up with the comparatively meager amount of BS we employers impose!


Less technical version of the above:
"It's called a 'BS' degree because, when you get out of college, used to the BS being up to 'here' [holds hand flat above head], that, when you get out into the Real World, and the BS is only up to 'here' [holds hands flat at knees] you go, 'WOW, this is GREAT! There's NO BS here!!'"


.

 
At 12/15/2009 9:20 AM, Blogger juandos said...

radian notes "I seem to recall that when people objected to defacto quotas for women being imposed under Title IX..."...

Hmmm, interesting but then again I don't recall that being the reason I remember...

I thought it was all about the money and the fact was and still is that men's college sports (football and basket ball being prime examples) garnered a lot more money for the colleges than women's sports...

Title IX was going to hurt that income stream...

You have an interesting point radian...

 
At 12/15/2009 12:58 PM, Anonymous Lyle said...

What is described more applies to the BA degree than the BS degree, as engineers and scientists get BS degrees and they do have to learn something. A lot of BA degrees are almost attendance certificates. Now if you want to you can still make something of them, for example if an english degree teaches you how to communicate in writing clearly that is a valuable skill, since it is such an uncommon skill. If however it teaches you the opinion of Shakespeare on global warming its worthless ( I suspect he did not have any but some "scholar" will find it in his writings anyway")

 

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