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Higher ed ushers in more women

Rachel Stalker, ’Doah Staff Writer
March 6, 2013

Studies have shown that women are excelling in the college classroom. And, it seems that the excellence they develop comes from their elementary years. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “Between 2000 and 2010, the number of male full-time post-baccalaureate students increased by 38 percent, compared with a 62 percent increase in the number of females.” This has been a developing trend since 1988. Though this does not dictate which gender is smarter, superior or better off, it is very telling for most females.

In an article titled “The Rise of Women,” writer Allie Grasgreen explains that as early as kindergarten, girls overall are more social and well-behaved, which relates to why girls on average earn higher grades and are more likely to complete a degree. Claudia Buchmann, co-author of the book “The Rise of Women: The Growing Gender Gap in Education and What It Means for American Schools,” states, “The grade gap isn’t about ability; it’s really more about effort and engagement in school.”

Even at S.U., College Board statistics show that 56 percent of our enrollment is women, leaving men at 44 percent. Talking with a few professors and students at S.U. on the subject, most agreed with what the aforementioned article and book said. Junior Krystie Ocasio said, “Women, typically, need to work twice as hard to be taken seriously. If they want to be a successful business woman, that’s great, but they have to work twice as hard for that successful career, while at the same time being successful in pursuits that society deems feminine.” Junior Myles Hairston agrees that women do put more effort in, but that it has to do with “the way they were encouraged to excel in academics as well.”

Teachers often have higher expectations of females in the classroom, both behaviorally and academically. Professor of Psychology Anderea Mason, who is also a school psychologist with Winchester Public Schools, addressed a study she had read recently from the University of Georgia and Columbia University. “This particular study showed that in elementary schools, teachers placed a lot of value on ‘approaches to learning’ which include behavioral evaluations of organization, attentiveness, flexibility, eagerness to learn, and independent learning.

“Generally speaking, girls tend to exhibit a higher level of these behaviors earlier in life. So, if they are rewarded with higher end grades for ‘effort’ then they are shaped or conditioned to like school/education better.” After college, once both men and women graduate and enter the workforce, there is still inequality.

According to Grasgreen, though women may outperform men in education, they are still unable to earn an equivalent paycheck.
Dr. Amy Sarch, head of the women’s studies department, notes, “Not only a pay gap, but being a working mother is extremely difficult in workplaces that do not offer affordable daycare, or in workplaces that do not allow flexible hours. “I’m very lucky to work at S.U. where I organize my teaching schedule where I can leave campus every day by 3 p.m.”

In the end, broad generalizations can be made about each gender’s work ethic, in college and beyond. However, it is important to stay open-minded, and to be as hardworking as possible. It is not just about earning a degree, but  trying to be a well-rounded person.

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