Thursday, January 14, 2010

Higher Education Is Failing Men, Not Women

From yesterday's Chronicle of Higher Education, an article by Mary Ann Mason:

"At each education level, from K-12 onward, structural barriers discourage women from entering into the challenging, and much higher-paid, fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Women are diverted from such fields at each stage of their education. In K-12, girls receive less encouragement than boys in math and science. In high-school programs, they are channeled into certain service professions, like hair styling rather than computer repair. At the undergraduate level, women are clustered in education and health programs, while men dominate engineering and the physical sciences.

In graduate school, the segregation is even more pronounced, and fewer women still go on to careers in academic science. At every level, the American educational system is failing young women by encouraging them to take a route that leads to lower pay, a route that will eventually limit them in providing for their families."

MP: I posted about this article
yesterday and reported some data that might refute Ms. Mason's claim that structural barriers discourage women from going into math, science and engineering.

The graduate school enrollment data in the chart above (available here) demonstrates that Ms. Mason is showing an extremely selective concern about sex imbalances in graduate school, since the enrollment data clearly show that: a) women are over-represented in graduate schools in general by a factor of 143 women for every 100 men, and b) women are over-represented in seven out of ten graduate fields in some cases like health sciences by as much as 398 women enrolled for every 100 men! If there's segregation in graduate school, it's men that appear to be the "victims" overall.

In fact, couldn't we say that American higher education is failing men because of the following breakdown for college graduates of the Class of 2009 (in addition to the over-representation of women in graduate school documented above)?

Associate's Degrees: 167 for women for every 100 for men.

Bachelor's Degrees: 142 for women for every 100 for men.

Master's Degrees: 159 for women for every 100 for men.

Professional Degrees: 104 for women for every 100 for men.

Doctoral Degrees: 107 for women for every 100 for men.

Bottom Line: Despite Ms. Mason claims, the data clearly suggest that men, not women, are the "second sex" in America's colleges and universities.


At 1/15/2010 8:49 AM, Anonymous DrTorch said...

"Couldn't we say..."

I don't see that you can have any other conclusions.

At 1/15/2010 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evidently you looked at only what you wanted to see: look at engineering and physical sciences.

My daughter got an organic chemistry degree from Caltech. This is a very male dominated place. She is tough, but the author is right about how we direct daughters toward the soft side of academia. You have an interest in having more scientists, male and female.

At 1/15/2010 12:48 PM, Anonymous DrTorch said...


The point was that Ms. Mason selected what she wanted to look at. Prof. Perry had the integrity to show the whole picture.

And I suspect that CalTech isn't any harder on women than men with Jacqueline Barton around.

At 1/15/2010 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have some sympathy for women finding an unwelcome work environment in certain male dominated fields. I watch it happen daily. But why women and men fight over low paying jobs (in academia), I will never understand. Isn't the winner the person that figures out that they should get out of academia? ;)

At 1/15/2010 7:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not about producing more female engineers and scientists. It's about destroying what the left sees as a predominately male and predominately white power structure. "Equality" is just the cloak that they hide behind. Believe me, I know. I have discussed this with left-wing academics and they are quite open about their goals.

At 1/16/2010 1:31 PM, Blogger David Foster said...

"In high-school programs, they are channeled into certain service professions, like hair styling rather than computer repair"

How many high schools teach *either* hair styling or computer repair?

At 1/17/2010 5:05 AM, Anonymous Reaperman said...

Men are failing themselves.

How uncharacteristic of a libertarian to place blame for underachievement on a system rather than assign personal responsibility.

Fewer men may be in college, but those who are dominate majors which are highly-remunerated after graduation. Women herd into useless majors which create skills of no measurable worth.

But if we are to contrast the leftist notion that universities must cater more to minorities, including women, then your point is well-taken in that regard.

At 1/26/2010 3:34 PM, Anonymous Tom Benson said...

Is it that men are withdrawing from the field because they don't want to challenge forcefull women? If we are losing the men as a resource then the society will suffer significant damage in the application of the skills of men who are not contributing.


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