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Quote of the Day
Thursday, July 13, 2006
60% Female
My favorite radio program these days is Tom Ashbrook's On Point. Today, part of the program was dedicated to the widening gender gap in higher education: on the average, more women (60%) than men (40%) are in college, and women are doing better than men in college. It was a fascinating show, and I encourage anyone interested to listen to it here. (I only caught portions of it, as I was in and out of the car all morning; I will listen to the entire program as I pack this afternoon.)

Most interesting to me was combining this show with what we already know about women in academia: by and large, it's difficult for a woman to secure tenure while also respecting her biological clock and raising a family. If universities are turning out more and better educated women, this presumably means that more women will land tenure-track jobs in the future. And when that happens, how will the process of tenure change? Will it change at all?

This program was also interesting to me as the mother of a son. The program's experts noted that males still outnumber females at some Big Ten universities, mostly because of their emphasis on athletics and the wide array of "practical" majors they offer (e.g., engineering, business). The program also noted, however, that males just might not be mature enough for college when they enter at age 18 or 19; males reach maturation at around age 25. As I ponder whether or not to hold ST back a year from kindergarten because of the differences in maturity between girls and boys, I wonder how long this maturity "delay" will really affect him.

Listen to the program. I'd enjoy hearing what other academics think.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 7/13/2006 11:12:00 AM  
4 Words of Wisdom:
  • At 9:55 PM, Blogger Lilian said…

    Hmmm, it sounds like a great program, I'll try to listen to it and come back to comment, OK?

  • At 10:31 PM, Anonymous Peri said…

    I love 'On Point.' I even called in one day when they were doing a show on the Duke Lacrosse team. I'd never been tempted to really call in before but the show was so interesting and I just got excited and called in. I was shocked I actually got to speak on air. Anyway, to YOUR point....

    Great topic. I'll have to listen to it online. I'd also wonder if this increase in women in acdeme will backfire on us and as a a feminization of the profession. That's historically been a bad thing-- as more women enter a profession it's status drops as does its pay. Think secondary education or clergy. Did anyone address this?

  • At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Sarah said…

    Hi there. Long-time reader of your blog; first-time poster.

    FYI, this NYT article suggests there has been some misunderstanding about the gender gap. It describes an American Council on Education study, which finds that high income men are still slightly more likely than their female counterparts to attend college, but that low income and Hispanic men are indeed losing ground.

    Here's the link to the article:


    p.s. Love your blog. Your success at finishing the dissertation and finding a job gives us other ABD moms the motivation to keep plugging away!

  • At 2:49 PM, Blogger Prof. Me said…

    Thanks for the comments, and sorry I'm getting back to read them so late!

    Lilian, yes -- if you do have time to listen to this, I'd love to hear what you think.

    Peri, there was a part at the end of the program where Ashbrook said something about the feminization of academia, and how women could change the culture of academia and affect its status, but it wasn't explored in detail. (At least, not during the portions of the show I was able to catch.)

    Sarah, thanks for the sweet comment, and for the link to the NYT article. I always love to hear from other ABD moms, so keep commenting!

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