Betty Co-ed’s future

Women outnumber men on college campuses and in some traditionally male majors, according to the federal “Condition of Education” report. From the Chicago Tribune:

Women now account for about half the enrollment in professional programs such as law, medicine and optometry, up from 22 percent a generation ago.

. . . In business, by far the most popular degree field among undergraduates, women earn slightly more than half of all bachelor degrees; it was one-third in 1980.

Women who work full-time earn about 76 percent as much as men, according to the report. I’m not sure if that’s comparing apples to apples: Generally, wages start out the same right after college but diverge in the child-rearing years as men focus on earning more to support a family and women focus on raising children. Childless women continue to earn about the same as childless men.

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  1. >Childless women continue to earn about the same as childless men.
    Do we know if there are data to support this?
    Very good thoughts!

  2. Twill00 says:

    It’s been 5-10 years since I saw the results, but the last number I saw was that childless women (in general) earned 103% of what men (in general) earned. (Both groups working full time, I believe.) Not that I necessarily see that benefit in my own check…

  3. Oh, please. This is such a vile use of aggregated data.

    First, any comparison that doesn’t exclude all undergrads over 22 is incredibly dishonest, since we send so many welfare mothers to college.

    But excluding them or not, the imbalance is caused almost entirely by blacks and Hispanics, where the college attendance imbalance approaches a 60-30 split. Black and Hispanic girls aren’t any better prepared for college than their male counterparts, and have average SAT scores in the mid-400s. Their grad school performance and test scores are equally weak. And most of them become the incompetent teachers we bitch about.

    The white gender split is much narrower, and demonstrates little more than the fact that businesses prefer secretaries to have a college degree (hence the popularity of the business degree). 80-90% of secretaries have college degrees, and they are almost all female. I don’t see all that much to crow about there.

    So while women are more likely to go to college and graduate, it’s not because they’re better prepared or smarter. The low performers in college are almost all female, and disproportionately black and Hispanic. Many of them are spending a lot of money to get a low-paying job that shouldn’t need a college degree. The rest of them are becoming the incompetent teachers we bitch about. And all of them are dragging down the skill level of a college degree, causing employers to question whether a degree is good enough. If we don’t stop this somehow, we’re going to end up devaluing a college degree.

    I don’t see anything worth celebrating. This is just what happens when people start pushing the credential over the knowledge. Everyone is happy bitching about this at the high school level, but then assume magically that all these kids catch up in college. Dream on.

  4. Joanne Jacobs says:

    Very few welfare mothers attend college. Black females earn considerably higher grades and test scores than black males and are more likely to complete a degree. The male-female education gap is widest for blacks but is now significant for whites as well. It is expected to increase.

    Most low-scoring students who go to college do not earn a degree.

  5. Cal seems to have migrated from Cathy S’s blog. But I do know from my own field, that whenever women move into an area, salaries drop. Women, for a number of reasons, work cheaper than men.

  6. “Very few welfare mothers attend college. ”

    Most undergraduates over 30 are low income female parents. If they aren’t “welfare mothers”, then they’re close.

    “Black females earn considerably higher grades and test scores than black males”

    Grades are useless as indicators of knowledge. In most cases (and in all races) boys with Bs score higher on all standardized tests than girls with As–just as poor whites outscore high ses blacks. Grades say little about knowledge.

    The best knowledge indicators are standardized tests. While the black gender gap is much smaller than in other races, black girls score lower in math on both the SAT and the ACT than boys, and lower in the ACT Science Reasoning on the ACT. They do score slightly higher on reading, but the gap is much smaller. On AP tests, black males outscore females in almost every subject except English lit.

    “The male-female education gap is widest for blacks but is now significant for whites as well. ”

    It’s only “significant” if you look at the working class where, as I said, white girls are going to school to get college degrees to work as secretaries, whereas before they began as a receptionist right out of high school. There’s no gender gap in educated families or high income families–check the SAT population, which considerately breaks their population down by gender and income.

    The gender gap is caused by two things. First, we are shovelling unqualified kids into college, and these kids are predominantly female, black and Hispanic. If they manage to make it through college, they are becoming teachers–assuming they can pass the teacher’s test, of course.

    Everyone focuses on the itty bitty liberal arts schools and their gender gap. The real gap occurs in the mediocre state schools like Domingues Hills, which are over 60% female, almost entirely black and Hispanic, and where only 14-18% got over 500 on either section of the SAT. You can find the cites here.

    Second, many traditionally female occupations that used to require a high school degree (secretary, receptionist as two examples) are now requiring a college degree–not because of higher pay, but because the employers couldn’t assume that a high school graduate had basic literacy skills.

    In contrast, the traditionally male occupations that require a high school degree still have their own training programs to assure competency and they haven’t been going to college–although they’re still making more money than female college graduates.

    One other thing to remember about the widening gap in white 18 year olds–the most recent data regarded 1996 high school graduates. The economy was growing rapidly in 1996, so boys on the border who were considering college vs. a trade would have more incentive to go straight into a job. It will be interesting to see what happened to that gap in 2000, when the recession had started.

    This gap has been ongoing for 20 years and hasn’t changed very much. It’s just currently fashionable to wring our hands about it.

    “Cal seems to have migrated from Cathy S’s blog. ”

    I own a large forum and have a fairly well-established identity at any number of blogs. I comment far more at Joanne’s blog than Seipp’s. Your assumption that I popped into being just for a minor debate with Cathy suggests a rather inbred world view. You might want to get out more.

  7. First of all, this is old news. Second, this is not true in all fields. Females are still a clear minority in math, physical science and engineering. Equal choices advocates blamed it on the oppressive academic and work environment and are working hard to push women to these fields, without much success. They also blamed oppressive environments in medical, legal and business fields. Why females can now be equals in some fields but not others? Are physical sciences and engineering that much more oppressive? If you have the IQ to become a physics PHD, you certainly have enough IQ (but not necessary EQ) to become a MD. Who is going to make more money, the average physics PHD or the MD? No wonder these smart women won’t listen to the advocates, instead they make the smart career choices. Then why would men choose these fields. They have to love technology for its own sake. This is a gender difference, see the thread on Banning bangs.

    This is not to say women always make career choice based on money. The reverse is true. They are sucker for career that nurtures others: teacher, social worker, nurses. According to my unscientific observation, high school female students who want to be in the medical field want to be Pediatrician, the lowest pay of all doctors. They just do not to be in a less financial rewarding career just to see some cool technology.

  8. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Any discussion of salary differential that does not apply to people doing identical jobs is stupid. Paying women less than men has been illegal for at least a quarter century.

  9. Well. I suppose a good study would have taken the ‘identical’ job thing into consideration. Does anyone have references to related reports? Thanks.