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Women surpassing men educationally

December 9, 2011

Women are putting more weight into a college education and are surpassing men, according to a study done by the Pew Research Center.

Half of all women who had graduated from a four-year college gave the U.S. higher education system excellent or good marks for the value it provides, given the money spent by students and their families, versus 37 percent of men who agreed that they felt that they had gotten their money’s worth out of their education. In addition, in 2010, 36 percent of women ages 25-29 had attained a bachelor’s degree, compared with 28 percent of men in the same age group.

This is a change for women because up until the 1990s, men had surpassed women in education. In 1992 women had started to surpass men and the gap has widened every since then. There is definitely a gender gap here at the UW- River Falls. According to enrollment statistics there is a 60-40 percent ratio between female and male students. There are 3,937 female students that attend the University compared with 2,798 male students.

So where are all the men? According to the National Bureau of Economic Research there are a few reasons as to why women are surpassing men. One of the reasons was because of the developmental and behavioral differences between men and women. Boys often times mature slower than women and in grade school boys often have higher incidents of behavioral problems than girls. Generally, girls are also more likely to spend more time doing their homework. These behavioral factors, which can often account for higher test scores and high school achievement, give women an advantage into getting into college.

Another explanation for the shift in gender is because men, a lot of the time, can often earn more money from jobs than women can without attending a technical college or university. If a man is earning $25 or more doing a construction job, then there is not much incentive for him to go to college. Men and women also had different opinions about the cost of college. Fourteen percent of women believe that most people can afford to go to college versus 26 percent of men who believed that college was affordable.

Interestingly enough, according to public view, 77 percent of people surveyed believed that a college degree was necessary for a women to get ahead in life, while 68 percent believed that the same was true for men.

The study also showed that public opinions to the changing gender patterns were mixed. By a ratio of 52 to 47 percent, Americans believe that having more women than men graduating from college was a good thing. But when the scenario was flipped, 46 percent thought that having less men graduating than women was a bad thing, while 12 percent believed it was a good thing.

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