Women dominate the ranks of college graduates. What’s the effect on America?

This will be one of the greatest social science experiments ever conducted.  After WWII nations tested free markets vs. government-dominated systems.  Europe, North America, and East Asia using variants of the former.  The red block, Africa, and Latin America using variants of the latter.  The results were clear, and the world changed.

Now we’re testing male-dominated systems vs. female-dominated systems.  The result might change the world, in ways impossible to foresee.   This post provides information about the issue. My thoughts about this appear in A better answer to “why women outperform men in college?”

Links to other posts about America’s education system appear at the end.


  1. A summary of our situation
  2. Why Do Women Outnumber Men in College?“, Digest of the National Bureau of Economic Research, January 2007
  3. Projections of Education Statistics to 2016“, Department of Education, December 2007
  4. The Natural Superiority of Women, Ashley Montagu (1999)
  5. The Coming American Matriarchy“, Jonathan Rauch, National Journal, 11 January 2008
  6. Brief analysis from around the Internet
  7. For more information

(1)  A summary of our situation

(A) From “Women Now Dominate Higher Education at Every Degree Level; The Female-Male Degree Gap Grows“, Mark Perry (Professor of Economics, U of Michigan), at his blog Carpe Diem, 2 June 2009


(B) From Brenda Turner, Oregon Employment Dept, 20 April 2009:

At age 21, women are more likely to be enrolled in college than men, according to the Bureau of Labor StatisticsNational Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Each year over a 10-year period, this survey interviewed about 9,000 young men and women who were born during the years 1980 to 1984. Respondents were ages 12 to 17 when first interviewed in 1997, and ages 21 to 27 when interviewed for the tenth time in 2006-2007.

During the October when they were age 21, nearly half (46 percent) of women were attending college compared with 36% of men. This difference in college-enrollment rates stems from three factors:

  1. Women were more likely to have graduated from high school;
  2. among high school graduates, women were more likely to attend college; and
  3. once enrolled in college, women were less likely than men to leave college between school years.

(2)  At Colleges, Women Are Leaving Men in the Dust“, New York Times, 9 July 2006 — Excerpt:

A quarter-century after women became the majority on college campuses, men are trailing them in more than just enrollment. Department of Education statistics show that men, whatever their race or socioeconomic group, are less likely than women to get bachelor’s degrees — and among those who do, fewer complete their degrees in four or five years. Men also get worse grades than women.

And in two national studies, college men reported that they studied less and socialized more than their female classmates.

Small wonder, then, that at elite institutions like Harvard, small liberal arts colleges like Dickinson, huge public universities like the University of Wisconsin and U.C.L.A. and smaller ones like Florida Atlantic University, women are walking off with a disproportionate share of the honors degrees.  Still, men now make up only 42% of the nation’s college students. And with sex discrimination fading and their job opportunities widening, women are coming on much stronger, often leapfrogging the men to the academic finish.

(3)  Why Do Women Outnumber Men in College?“, Digest of the National Bureau of Economic Research, January 2007 — Excerpt:

It is fairly well known that women today outnumber men in American colleges. In 2003, there were 1.35 females for every male who graduated from a four-year college and 1.3 females for every male undergraduate. That contrasts with 1960, when there were 1.6 males for every female graduating from a U.S. four-year college and 1.55 males for every female undergraduate. How come this switch?  In T”he Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap” (NBER Working Paper No. 12139), authors Claudia Goldin, Lawrence Katz, and Ilyana Kuziemko offer some explanations for the change.

… One sign of rising expectations by women is shown in the fact that women earned 45.1% of bachelor’s degrees in business in 1984-5 and 50% by 2001-2, up from only 9.1% in 1970-1. Similar large increases in the female share of BAs also have occurred in the life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering since the early 1970s. It also could be that the rise in divorce rates since the 1960s and women’s greater responsibility for children have prompted women to see an investment in college as an insurance policy for their future financial lives.

Another aspect in the reversal of the college gender gap, rather than just its elimination, is the persistence of behavioral and developmental differences between males and females. Boys often mature more slowly than girls. In grades K-12, boys tend to have a higher incidence of behavioral problems (or lower level of non-cognitive skills) than girls. Girls spend more time doing homework than boys. These behavioral factors, after adjusting for family background, test scores, and high school achievement, can explain virtually the entire female advantage in getting into college for the high school graduating class of 1992, the authors figure. It allowed “girls to leapfrog over boys in the race to college.” Similarly, teenage boys, both in the early 1980s and late 1990s, had a higher (self-reported) incidence of arrests and school suspensions than teenage girls.

The “homecoming” in the authors’ title to their paper refers to the fact that by 1980 the gender balance in college had returned to its pre-1930 level in the United States, although the levels of college attendance were almost six times higher in 1980 than in the 1920s for both men and women. The number of male-to-female undergraduates was about at parity from 1900 to 1930. Many females were attending teacher-training colleges in those days.

The highpoint of gender imbalance in college attendance was reached in 1947, after the return of men from World War II then eligible for educational subsidies through the GI bills, when undergraduate men outnumbered women 2.3 to 1. Women’s relative numbers in college have increased ever since the 1950s, with a pause when many men went to college to avoid serving in the Vietnam War.

The decline in the male-to-female ratios of undergraduates in the past 35 years is real, and not primarily due to changes in the ethnic mix of the college-aged population or to the types of post-secondary institutions they attend, the authors assert. The female share of college students has expanded in all 17 member-nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in recent decades, so much so that women now outnumber men in college in almost all rich nations.

(4) Projections of Education Statistics to 2016“, Department of Education, December 2007 — A forecast for 2016; it’s almost certainly too conservative about this trend.

  • 64% of Associates degrees will be awarded to women,
  • 61% of Bachelor’s degrees,
  • 63% of Master’s degrees,
  • 58% of Doctoral degrees,
  • 58% of Professional degrees

(5)  The Natural Superiority of Women, Ashley Montagu (1999) — Publisher’s summary:

Among the central issues of the modern feminist movement, the debate over biology and culture over sex and gender, over genetics and gender roles has certainly been one of the most passionately contested. Making revolutionary arguments upon its first publication in 1953, The Natural Superiority of Women stands as one of the original feminist arguments against biological determinism.

An iconoclast, Montagu wielded his encyclopedic knowledge of physical anthropology in critique of the conventional wisdom of women as the “weaker sex,” showing how women’s biological, genetic, and physical makeup made her not only man’s equal, but his superior. Also a humanist, Montagu points to the emotional and social qualities typically ascribed to and devalued in women as being key to just social life and relationships. Subsequent editions of this book have provided additional support for Montagu’s arguments, examining both biological and social scientific data of the late 20th century. One of the most broadly renowned and read scholars of our century, Montagu brings out this fifth edition with up-to-date statistics and references.

(6) The Coming American Matriarchy“, Jonathan Rauch, National Journal, 11 January 2008 — Excerpt:

A generation from now, the female lawyer with her male assistant will be the cliché. Look for women to outnumber men in many elite professions, and potentially in the political system that the professions feed. (The election of a female president is a question of when, not whether.)  Women’s superior education will increase their earning power relative to men’s, and on average they will be marrying down, educationally speaking. A third of today’s college-bound 12-year-old girls can expect to “settle” for a mate without a university diploma. But women will not stop wanting to be hands-on moms.

For families, this will pose a dilemma. Women will have a comparative advantage at both parenting and breadwinning. Many women will want to take time off for child-rearing, but the cost of keeping a college-educated mom at home while a high-school-educated dad works will be high, often prohibitive.

Look, then, for rising pressure on government to provide new parental subsidies and child care programs, and on employers to provide more flextime and home-office options — among various efforts to help women do it all. Look, too, for a cascading series of psychological and emotional adjustments as American society tilts, for the first time, toward matriarchy. What happens to male self-esteem when men are No. 2 (and not necessarily trying harder)? When more men work for women than the other way around?

… {Men} will not become mothers anytime soon, and they will not stop secreting testosterone. Men’s ambition will ensure ample male representation at the very top of the social order, where CEOs, senators, Nobelists, and software wunderkinds dwell. Women will not rule men.

But they will lead. Think about this: Not only do girls study harder and get better grades than boys; girls now take more high school math and science than do high school boys. If there is a “weaker sex,” it isn’t female.

(7)  Reactions from around the Internet

(A)  The Instapundit, 25 June 2002 — I believe he understates the situation, as this is even more true of grade school.

SEX DISCRIMINATION IN COLLEGE: 57% of degrees are going to women. There’s a lot of hand-wringing about why, but they miss the obvious: over the past 20 years there has been a concerted effort to make colleges male-unfriendly environments, with attacks on fraternities, with anti-male attitudes in many classes, with intrusive sexual-harassment rules that start with the assumption that men are evil predators, and so forth. Now men don’t find college as congenial a place. It’s a hostile environment, quite literally.

How come none of the experts quoted in this article has noticed that?

Update:  He wrote about this in more detail in “Where the Boys Aren’t“, TCS Daily, 27 September 2005 — Excerpt:

{I}t seems to me that there are three possible ways of looking at the growing higher-education gender imbalance.

One would be to treat it the way we treat other “underrepresentation” issues in higher education: By wondering what universities are doing wrong. … The remedy, in this view: Affirmative action for male candidates, re-education for faculty, campus “men’s centers” to match the womens’ centers that were created when women were an underrepresented group on campus (and which still remain today almost everywhere), and efforts to make curricula, dormitories, and recruiting more male-friendly… There seems little doubt that if any other group were suffering similar declines in college attendance, this is precisely the approach we’d be seeing, and some schools have already been trying this to some degree.

The second approach would be to shrug the problem off. Men aren’t going to college as much? Big deal. Maybe it’s because women are smarter, or better suited to such things.

(B) Something else for Margaret Spellings“, blog of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, 23 September 2005

A generation of young men is losing out in a very big way. But there is no real outrage as higher education becomes a feminized system. Indeed, the outrage is still running the other way–we hear continually about the marginalization of women in the academy, and the difficulties women students face. The question of why there are so few women in the hard sciences draws impassioned debate, urgent calls for equity, and lots and lots of money. But the question of why young men are disappearing from campus is not even being widely asked. And it certainly isn’t being studied systematically. It should be, and Margaret Spellings has the power to ensure that it is.

(C) The Death of Macho“, Reihan Salam, Foreign Policy, 22 June 2009 — Based on a superfical, even false, analysis of the causes of the financial crisis.  But very PC, very trendy.  Hat tip to Zenpundit.  Excerpt:

Manly men have been running the world forever. But the Great Recession is changing all that, and it will alter the course of history.

For years, the world has been witnessing a quiet but monumental shift of power from men to women. Today, the Great Recession has turned what was an evolutionary shift into a revolutionary one. The consequence will be not only a mortal blow to the macho men’s club called finance capitalism that got the world into the current economic catastrophe; it will be a collective crisis for millions and millions of working men around the globe.

(8)  For more information

(a)  Other articles about this topic:

  1. The Decline of Males: The First Look at an Unexpected New World for Men and Women, Dr. Lionel Tiger (biological anthropologist)
  2. The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men, Christina Hoff Sommers
  3. The Myth of Male Power, Warren Farrell
  4. Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism, Daphne Patai

(b)  Other posts about this on the FM website:

  1. A better answer to “why women outperform men in college?”, 8 July 2009
  2. Update: women on top of men, 27 October 2009
  3. For links to all these articles see the FM reference page Women and gender issues.

(c)  Posts about America’s education system:

  1. College education in America, another broken business model, 3 July 2009
  2. The secret about our universities (seldom even whispered among Professors), 5 July 2009
  3. Women dominating the ranks of college graduates – What’s the effect on America?, 7 July 2009
  4. Is a college education worth a million dollars?, 10 July 2009
  5. What should a student learn from college? Why go to college?, 1 November 2009

72 thoughts on “Women dominate the ranks of college graduates. What’s the effect on America?”

  1. So then, let us simply apply that time-tested maxim once again. Let our fathers sit down their sons as young adults late one night across the kitchen table as their young wards recite their discontents. Let the father take their hand kindly and reply: “Well, after all, you know – it’s a woman’s world.”

    I have much more to say on this topic but will wait until tomorrow’s post.
    Fabius Maximus replies: What is your basis for saying that this is a “time-tested maxim”?

  2. FM note: this comment makes an important point!
    From a German perspective: The same happened here in case of our high-schools: 1980 more boys were found to be suitable for Gymnasium (top tier high-school), now the girls clearly out-number them.

    What also changed: The number of female teacher in primary schools, were the kids get their recommendation for high schools, increased dramatically. For many kids the high school is the place they see a male teacher the first time. And many boys in primary schools show now according to their (female) teachers bad behaviour and earn, therefore, bad marks and no recommendation for Gymnasium.

    So my question, what is the percentage of female teachers in US high-schools and how has it developed since 1950?

    Another aspect of changed female education in Germany: In contrast to men, women usually do not marry a partner with lower educational level, this leads in many cases to highly educated single (childless) females.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Agreed. Discussing this was beyond the scope of this post, but the disappearance of male teachers from grade school might be a major factor. From an National Education Association study (the link to the study no long works, but here’s a NEA factsheet citing it):

    …over the last 2 decades, the ratio of males to females in teaching has steadily declined. The number of male teachers now stands at a 40-year low. The percentage of male teachers in elementary schools has fallen regularly since 1981 – that year, it reached an all-time high of 18 percent. Today, a scant 9 percent of elementary school teachers are men.

    It’s a problem in the UK also: “Lack of male teachers hits boys’ grades“, The Independent, 13 September 2007.

  3. I think the situation calls for a re-evaulation of maleness. It is odd to me that, at the same time as matters are shifting in the educational arena, there is also a resurgence of the stupider forms of machismo in the popular culture– a totally counterproductive response to reality. The supposedly “macho” whining and complaining of folks like Instapundit also strikes me as pointless.

    If the big picture looks like women getting ahead and men pulling back, then it seems to me that we focus on dealing with that big picture. Men could stop clinging to machismo so much. Ulenspiegel’s point about women not wanting to ‘marry down’ educationally is a real problem, and maybe part of the answer is to somehow sweeten the deal for the women. How to accomplish this I don’t know. I tend to see the situation more as something to deal with, less as something to try to stop from happening.

  4. @atheist
    Agreed, as long as the changes are a result of higher perfomance. However, if the changes are “only” a result of faulty filters, then I as father prefer structural changes, which in many cases could easily be implemented and are cost neutral.

  5. @ Ulenspiegel from #4: “if the changes are “only” a result of faulty filters, then I as father prefer structural changes”

    I tend to think it is filters. Filters in the sense of attitudes, I mean. You say you prefer structural changes. May I ask what changes you envision?

  6. Women get preference to get into competitive college programs. Affirmative Action is still policy in colleges where females are the majority.

    That said, it also means more women will get stuck unemployed with unpayable student loans that they cannot discharge in bankruptcy. When I last heard only 19% of college graduates got jobs after the last graduations.

    Males tend to be more concentrated in majors where there are jobs: Accounting, Engineering, Computers, etc.

    The reality is the Somalian “Navy” and Taliban are taking on the combined forces of some of the most powerful nations on Earth and so far they are gaining ground. In other words, men in old fishing boats are defeating girls on aircraft carriers.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I don’t believe any of this is correct, other than the opening about “affirmative action”. Males are losing ground in every aspect of university life: every field, sports, academic performance. And there are very few women on US aircraft carriers.

  7. I have an ex wife and daughter who I helped to some of those degrees. My son and daughter both are gifted, and both studied physics. Daughter got a full ride scholarshp to her bachelors. Son is working his way. Legacy scholarship policy seems to favor women.

  8. Cannon Asesrb

    “Ulenspiegel’s point about women not wanting to ‘marry down’ educationally is a real problem, and maybe part of the answer is to somehow sweeten the deal for the women. How to accomplish this I don’t know.”

    I know we could have no fault divorces where the woman could leave at anytime, get primary custody of any children, get child support even if she makes more (which factoring out the time lost during the maternity process/recovery is generally equal to or better than men) or spousal support if no children are involved, and get at least half of all assets. Surely that would sweeten to pot for women to marry, right?

    “I think the situation calls for a re-evaulation of maleness. It is odd to me that, at the same time as matters are shifting in the educational arena, there is also a resurgence of the stupider forms of machismo in the popular culture– a totally counterproductive response to reality. The supposedly “macho” whining and complaining of folks like Instapundit also strikes me as pointless.”

    Yeah, if those neanderthal men would just become more like the superior women, then all would be right in the world. Let’s start our boys off right by drugging them via ritilian and giving them no male role models in the grade school time frame. After all, despite society being pro affirmative action toward under representative groups this is one under representative group that doesn’t deserve it.

    Atheist, I am sure you will view that last paragraph as whining. Nothing is further from the truth. I really don’t have a dog in this hunt. I have made sure I can not be a father (so I don’t have to worry about the future of any boys I might sire), pretty damn sure I won’t ever get married (no children is not negotiable, but the M word is, somewhat negotiable), and I have just barely missed this wave (although I shudder at the lost souls behind me.)

  9. Over the last 25 years men have slowly been maligned and marginalized. Starting out in grade school boys are not allowed to be boys. The teaching methods do not appeal to boys who crave “hands-on” learning and competition. In fact competition is discouraged in favor of the “everyone is a winner” mentality. No wonder by the time boys are of college age they want out. They have been told on many different levels that they are not wanted in academia. It’s not surprising that college educated women find it hard to find their equals in men. They wonder where all the “good” men are. They are where you left them girls. Now the next steps to further marginalize men is in full force. No fathers needed, thank-you. Women can have children by an anonymous donor. I worry much more for my son then I do my daughter that he will find his place in this world. Women have spent so much time overcomming gender obstacles with help from our benevolent government that some simple truths have been forgotten. Be careful what you wish for ladies, you just may get it.

  10. well if we do what was done for women, to help men gain some ground in college, we could start charging women with crimes based on the worst stereotypes of their gender and automatically assume they are all guilty, then create speech codes to stifle their freedom of expression, and then create “men’s studies” classes which serve the purpose of denouncing the oppressive matriarchy

  11. @atheist in #3: “men could stop clinging to machismo so much”

    Sure, let’s just have men stop being men. They can just all be metrosexuals, and everything will be fine. And let’s encourage all women to be super-educated high-risers confident of their own superiority to men and the old macho way of doing things. Then let’s all act bewildered when our society stops producing children and families. Who needs families? Who needs the social norms that have advanced humanity over thousands of years? What we really need is feminist professors telling young girls what’s good for them.

    You and all your atheist buddies keep up the good work of destroying society from within as you deal with the “reality” that hyper-progressivism has created. The rest of us will deal with the actual reality that gender means something and that social norms didn’t just come about by accident. Thanks to our missionary position style, we’ll be here to pick up the pieces after you all flame out.

  12. In some subjects like sports, math and physics I would form seperate classes for girls and boys in primary schools and high-schools; another aspect is a more equal distribution of male teachers in primary schools.

    Still cost neutral but tricky in the German educational system: transfer of the good teachers from high schools (esp. Gymnasien) to primary schools, where the fate of kids is determined (at least in Germany), i.e. I would prefer a more Skandinavian model.

    Mandatory free kindergarten and pre-schools in order to allow integration of kids from immigrant families, at least in cities with high percentage of non-German kids I would propose an all-day school, this costs of course, but 30% Turkish boys (many 3rd generation) without graduation from highschool are more expensive in the long run in a developed contry which offers only a small number of job for unskilled.

    My wish as docent: Do not increase the number of students who attend university, more diplomas do not solve the problem, let’s better use the non-academic parts of the educational system, here Germany (still) has to offer a lot. For universities, I would introduce in more subjects a restriction on admission and small fees. My experiences from Austria shows that 1000-2000$ p.a. nicely reduce the number of uniterested students, but do not accumulate to a real burden after graduation.

  13. “Men’s studies” Heh. You know, there’s a reason its called history.

    @6: Heard much from the Somalian pirates lately? Really, that situation was just the unintended consequences of disarming merchantmen. Let the frieghters have some rifles and maybe one crew-served weapon, and we’d never hear about pirates again.

    @2: That’s a very interesting observation–and the probable outcome is simply that such over educated women will typically not reproduce, so we’ll all end up with a bunch more spinsters for a while. Sort of like the whole issue of the social security system. One way or another, the whole thing will be over by 2040, because the majority of the baby boomers will be dead.

    The only constant in the universe is change. The wise adapt.

    One more thing: This isn’t really about the feminization of men so much as it is about the masculization of women.

  14. Claude Hopper

    A couple of things: The primary and secondary education system in the US is a failed institution. On average the poorest college students, primarily women, go into education. The boys, my son included, are lost souls by the time they reach middle school. Teacher unions have had a strong hand in this failure.

    A good friend has been a faculty member in an MIT engineering department for many years. He has had to dumb down his class rigor to accommodate the present day students. They want to development of verbal skills not analytical skills. K-12 has given them no preparation for real academic rigor.

    Government played a role in this failure. Graduate students used to be funded by the US defense department and the research work was theoretical and analytical. Now funding has gone over to the EPA and the research is observational rather than theoretical. Observational research is much less demanding than theoretical. The resulting graduates go into environmental fields and generally work to restrict the freedom of others (see spotted owl).

  15. Ulenspiegel asks: “So my question, what is the percentage of female teachers in US high-schools and how has it developed since 1950?”

    My K-12 schooling was in the 1960’s through 1972. As far as I can remember the only Male teacher I had during K-6 was a Physical Education instructor. All the others were Female.

    During 7 & 8, which was referred to as “Junior High” where I was raised, I remember a ratio of … roughly … 50% Female to 50% Male instructors. The Men taught Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and “Shop”. ( Shop Class, for those who wonder, dealt with Mechanical Drawing, Wood Working, Metal Working and Photography. ) The Women taught English, History, Social Studies, and Home Economics. Yes … I actually learned how to sew on a button in Jr. High!

    Once I arrived at High School the ratio did change dramatically. As far as I can recall it was
    at least 70% Male. Females taught Language Arts/Speech/English/Music/French, Spanish and Italian!. Males taught Mathematics/Sciences/History along with German and Russian.

    The latest I can tell you about is 2000-2004 when my son was in High School. (His K-8 teachers were all female EXCEPT for Physical Education – a coach from the High School) I would guess at least 80% of the teachers were Female. The Males only seemed to teach Mathematics (about 60%-40%), Sciences (only 1 female out of 10 or 11 instructors) and Music – only the Chorale director my son’s Senior was Female.

    Not sure that really answers your question Ulenspeigel as it is all anecdotal. But you surely do raise a very interesting point!

  16. The “boy problem” is international. The difference is, in other countries they are actually trying to address it. There are programs and studies going on in Britain, Australia, etc. But not here. Here, the entire topic is taboo.

    The “boy problem” also starts very young. Richard Whitmire at his blog “Why boys fail” and with his upcoming book of the same name largely blames the push-down of the academic curriculum into kindergarten and on to young kids too young to handle it — especially boys. Girls will sit quietly and do the work, but a 5-year-old boy will not sit still for a phonics lesson, a writing assignment, or a math drill. But that is what they are being asked to do. As a consequence, boys fall behind right from the start, and are seen as troublesome in the classroom. Classrooms are designed for the calmer and more-controlled girls, they are considered the norm, and boys are seen as defective.

    This is compounded by almost-exclusively female-taught classrooms, with every teacher having gone through the PC heaven of ed school. If after feminist-power schooling, they even marginally favor girls–or girls’ learning styles and classroom behavior–the effects spread out over the entire cohort, and accumulating year after year become devastating by the time a student has had 13 years of primary and secondary education.

    Our son’s teacher actually uttered the words: “well, he’s a boy, and boys aren’t as good at writing.”

  17. FM note: This comment misses the key point. Women are increasingly dominating in every professional degree program, and rapidly gaining in technical fields
    How many of those degrees are worth anything? It would be nice to know the break down. Are they just fluffy little “Liberal Arts” degrees? “Victimology” degrees? Are they degrees just design for females to get grades and scholarships to keep the whole fraud going?

    Sounds like passive indoctrination into Marxist and feminist cant to me. As an employer, I can tell you that most degrees today outside of the hard sciences or engineering are almost worthless, and the level of of knowledge even in those areas is not what it once was. Hiring in those areas as I do, I often find the the females with these degrees rarely live up to their hype and are extremely arrogant. In my experience most do not make it past a few years, and those few that do have mostly mediocre careers. Society has wasted much money and effort here.

    It also would be nice to see all this data bracketed against real accompaniment, and here i do not mean job titles–I mean contributions to civilization.

    As for the job market, well the false and parasitical economy of the so called liberal Arts “knowledge worker” will have to come to an end fairly soon, no matter what Obama has to say about it. It is purely dependent on the public purse, and sooner or later this must run dry.

    It may well be that those males that went out there and started learning real skills may be ahead of the game. “Advanced Degrees” in “Art History”, or “Political Science” or “Women’s Studies” may not be worth much very soon. Same for Law degrees. Watered down science or technology programs that allow the mediocre to think that they are other than that are not worth that much either.

    Here is a story, I know of someone who had a daughter that was encouraged in math, went to high toned “women’s schools” got degrees and scholarships, and when she tried to really compete with the real top level mathematicians of her cadre (which of course were predominantly men) she shocking realized for the very first time that she had no real deep creative or analytic ability for mathematics at all, at least not at the level required and expected of her professionally. The whole establishment behind her was just pretending that the world was other than what it was just so they could crank out “female mathematicians”. She was used, wasted year of her life, and is now bitter about it. She is not involved in the field at all now.

    She had just been hustled by the “Women’s movement”. That money and effort could have been better used all around.

    Political correctness and squinting our eyes about meaningless degrees and dubious capacities and accomplishments will not much help us on the competitive world that we are going into. You can bet the Chinese do not do things this stupidly.

    It will be curious how these women react in a few years when they have to bear the responsibility for all this nonsense, and that day will come. Citing feminist cant will not be of much use.

  18. I think ya’ll are reading way too much psycho-babble in all of this. A college education is exponentially more expensive now than when I attended Michigan State(91-95) and by the time I was done, I realized it was(almost) a complete waste of money. A two year education from a community college would have gotten me 90% of my 4 year MSU education.

    Perhaps men are realizing this? And, one thing that stuck me before I left was the complete absurdity of the overall experience. 4 year uni’s are another world, far removed from everyday real life. I wanted to work and achieve real things, not abstract platitudes like grades.

    I’m a software developer, so I can still get a well paying job without a degree, but that’s changing.
    Fabius Maximus replies: This is factually incorrect. It is impossible to gain entry into most professions (e.g., law, medicine, become an officer in the armed forces) without a college degree. It is difficult to gain entry to an increasing number of fields without a degree, as they use this as a filtering device irrespective of its actual relevance to the job.

  19. 17: What hogwash. I am in my 50’s and that is just what we did back then, that is just a slander against boys. That has nothing to do with boys and everythng to do with incompetent (and often ideologically perverse) teachers

    We had co-ed schools back then, and you know what? the curriculum was mach harder back then.
    The females had a hard time keeping up by 3rd grade. This is just nonsense. Who built this civilization anyway?

    Higher IQ is a statistical anomaly in females. The farther up you go the number of females decrease dramatically. Female IQ is cluster around a mean. There is a wider diffusion of male IQ, but were it does cluster around a mean, that mean is higher too.

    When you have a feminist teaching boys, you will get this. Prove that this is a worls wide problem. I bet it only exist in the decadent, effeminate PC cultures of the West.

  20. A note from the proprietor of the FM site

    The comments are getting repetitive, esp the moral outrage. Please stick to the topic, which is the effect of this trend on America.

    Discussion of reforms and cures is always appropriate, of course. But please focus on how to make it happen. Wishing for massive changes, perhaps resulting from the Blue Fairy’s help, is a waste of time.

  21. From #8

    Yeah, if those neanderthal men would just become more like the superior women, then all would be right in the world. Let’s start our boys off right by drugging them via ritilian and giving them no male role models in the grade school time frame. After all, despite society being pro affirmative action toward under representative groups this is one under representative group that doesn’t deserve it.

    Cannon Asesrb, let me take a step back. Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds said:

    SEX DISCRIMINATION IN COLLEGE: 57% of degrees are going to women. There’s a lot of hand-wringing about why, but they miss the obvious: over the past 20 years there has been a concerted effort to make colleges male-unfriendly environments, with attacks on fraternities, with anti-male attitudes in many classes, with intrusive sexual-harassment rules that start with the assumption that men are evil predators, and so forth. Now men don’t find college as congenial a place. It’s a hostile environment, quite literally.

    When I read that, I thought about my own time in college. We had multiculturalism seminars that one could take for a credit, and most people did take them. One of them was about date rape and it actually was pretty angering. The instructor really did seem to assume that boys just wanted to rape girls, and personally I found that insulting. I even remember getting into a verbal altercation with this instructor over it.

    So, I can see where you are coming from with anger about having the worst assumed about you. But to me there are two other things. First, as angry as that seminar made me, and I can remember now how angry it made me, to be assumed a rapist on the basis on nothing, it really was only one seminar. It was not required, and even if you took it, it was over in a day. And the other four years had nothing really like that. So, I feel that Instapundit is really exaggerating when he says, “over the past 20 years there has been a concerted effort to make colleges male-unfriendly environments”. To be blunt, if some guy could not get pussy at the college I was at, it was probably not because of feminism, but because of something else.

    The second thing I think about, and this might sound very boring or wonkish, but honestly women have a legitimate interest in their own personal security. And, from the statistics and facts that I have seen and read, it is no joke to say that women get abused by boyfreinds, get attacked by people they know. I don’t claim that it is all one way, I know there are women who abuse their boyfreinds too. But it seems to me that the bulk of the abuse goes the other way. And, if you take it as a given that girls should be able to choose relationships, as I do, then it becomes unescapable that one has to work to reduce the amount of violence against the women. And there is probably a better way than to accuse random men of being rapists, but such an educational course is the only way we have now.

    In my opinion, Instapundit is not accepting either of these realities, and that is why I can’t agree with him. Do you see where I am coming from Cannon Asesrb?

  22. J. D. Lindskog

    I have few answers, just a few questions.

    Regarding academic endeavors:
    1. Considering the undergrad population as a whole, what are the distribution (%) trends of Liberal Arts (soft sciences) vs. Applied Arts (Hard sciences) program participation?
    2. What is the concentrations male/female participation for each program?
    3. What are the implications for US national economic competetivness in a global economic environment?

    From the psycho/social point of view:
    1. What are the effects of a ‘Role Model’ shift for both males and females in a competitive environment?
    2. How will the resulting Role Model shifts comport with the more conservative (eastern?) culture models.
    3. Is the daily minit-by-minit diminution of male roles depicted in western MSM advertising and entertainment content, a reflection of current social values or an overt prescription for intended social change.

    And last: Will social conditioning supersede genetic propensities? I think not.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Why don’t you look up the answers and report back? I’m sure we’d like to see what you find!

  23. FM note: this comment raises an important point!
    Labor economists are familiar with the fact that as women enter a given profession, a tipping point is reached and the job becomes “woman’s work” and men go away. Historic examples include secretary, actuary, and pharmaceutical sales (once called ‘detail men’).

    College is just another ‘job’ that becomes a woman’s club and is avoided by men.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Agreed! Note, for example, the decline in status of doctors in the USSR. But college in the US (and more generally the west), is NOT a job. It has a gatekeeper function, the entryway to a large fraction of high income/status jobs. That trashes your last point. All professional and technical jobs will not drop in status and income, so that jobs like garbage collection and highway repair become the most desirable jobs in America.

  24. FM: Prove that. An please do not give me some doctored Left-wing “study”. I live in the real world and have to shoulder real P and L responsibility, and I do not belive you one bit.

    My employees hae PHd. from the best schools int he world. I actively recruit from places like MIT, CalTech and IIT. Really prove that they are gaining in every field. What I see is it only applies to academia where in science and engineering they have created women’s ghettos where they are not held to the same standards of men. 30 years from now, all that they have “produced” will be laughed at.

    I do not see it in my field. I see “female science degrees” But i do not see the performance in real world situations. I see a lot of coddled and arrogant mediocrities that cannot take the heat once they are really asked to compete with the best in the field.

    Miss the point indeed. Read what I wrote. What nonsense. Do you do anything real for a living? It is you that miss the point, and you do this because you believe “studies” that are designed for ideological reasons and whose authors willingly distort the truth. Feminist propaganda about gaining in “every” field is not reality. Go to high level international symposia in math, or Physics or computer science and see with what you are dealing with there. Goodness, thy have to book “women’s sections” sot he poor dears will not get humiliated in public.

    Check back in the real world a decade after that degree is issued and see what you get. You can even try 5 years. more than half have wuite and are out of the field. And I am talking about real jobs. not some sort of Academic “job”. I mean a bench scientist in a firm or aas an engineer.

    You are just kidding yourself. I would like see a real break out, and i would also like to see a comparative analysis of curriculum. I do not buy it at all. When it is you daughter that gets used like this, or your son, then you will see who “gets it”. What silliness.
    Fabius Maximus replies: You do not believe that the proportion of women is increasing in almost every field in America — and in every professional field? If so, that’s bizarre, up there with flat earthers. Consult the census department and DOL data. For a start, see the US Government’s Women in the Labor Force: A Databook (2007 Edition). Perhaps the most telling datum is Table 25. Wives who earn more than their husbands. Was 26% in 2005 for marriages in which both work, up almost 1/2 from 1987. Will it rise to 36% by 2023 (in 14 years)?

    No more rants here, please. It’s not that kind of site. Can you cite supporting data or articles for your beliefs?

  25. In line with the decline of males on campuses and the rise of leftist PC atmosphere thereon, the quality of the university product has been declining steadily. Long time corporate trainers have had to constantly change to accommodate, dumb down and lengthen training cycles. More and more intelligent men are avoiding the PC university hassle altogether and the PC environment of the large corporation. They go into the military, trade schools, and/or start their own businesses. A liberal arts bachelor’s degree has become a ticket stamp with less than the value of a 1950’s high school diploma. It will get you a job at Starbucks, maybe.

  26. @Fabius,

    I implied software developers can get well paying jobs without a degree, not any of the ones you listed. Regardless, while plenty of jobs require a degree, a lot don’t. Or at least not a 4 year degree. And you have to weigh what your earnings potential will be with a massive amount of debt vs. one without.

    Now, that being said, men will certainly benefit from a good education, but I think that with the Internet and the wealth of information it brings, a lot of traditional routes are being bypassed. Admittedly, my perspective is skewed as I work with a large number of non-college educated small business owners who have simply worked their way to success, with only an associates degree( if that ) in hand.

    Universities are overpriced and overrated and I think this contributes to an increasing number of people simply delaying or bypassing it altogether. Women are playing catch up to men professionaly and see a degree as a validation of their success and intelligence, hence I think they say ‘damn the consequences’ and go full steam ahead.

    There is an article floating around somewhere from Business week that enumerated in good fashion why most people should bypass college. I’ll be damned if I can find it, though.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I do not understand what you are saying. My reply here seems quite clear, that college is the gateway to a very large and growing fraction of the high paying jobs in America. Your comment seems to ignore this fact.

  27. And Fabius, if I may ask, what do you do for a living? Your posts have a somewhat scholarly and dry(no offense!) tone. Are you a think-tanker or university instructor?
    Fabius Maximus replies: Personalities don’t matter on this site. Look at the about page for more information.

  28. Claude Hopper

    Comment 14 supplement: I was talking with my MIT faculty friend last month about the lack of preparation for rigor in science and applied math. He said the best primary and secondary education system was in France. No high self esteem policy there; their academic rigor shows one early their capabilities resulting in less disappointment and frustration later in life. In essence, well adjusted citizens.

  29. Fabius, I went through grade school in the 1960s and ’70s in the Southeastern U.S. Like some of the commenters above, my recollection is that the faculty was predominately female. However, I attended a number of schools (we moved a lot) and I don’t recall any of them being particularly feminized. So I’ve been scratching my head to figure out what the difference is.

    One difference could be that, as far as I know, ed school wasn’t the militant feminist cesspool that it is now. So even though the teachers were mostly female, they weren’t getting fed the girl-centric teaching philosophy that they get now. However, I’m wondering about something else: if the presence of even a small number of males on the faculty has a disproportinate effect on the prevailing school culture. Thinking back, at every grade school I went through, there were at least two men in authority positions. Some had a few male teachers; some others had a male principal and one male teacher, and so forth. I consider it plausible that if a school had two men on the faculty, and then they were replaced by women, there would be a significant shift in the school’s prevailing culture, even though in percentage terms the composition of the faculty didn’t change very much. So a small decrease in the total number of male grade-school teachers nationwide could just hint at the fact that large cultural changes actually occurred at a number of schools. After all, it’s long been observed that when the first women enters a formerly all-male workplace, a big change in the office culture occurs — why wouldn’t the opposite be true also?

  30. In 1991, I got screamed at “What’s wrong, didn’t like school?!” and kicked out of job interview for graduating college in 3 years with honors… now people like me (male) only get 40% of college degrees at all. Nice.

  31. When you couple this with the AAUW’s “Behind the Pay Gap” (2007) study, you see that this is not necessarily a good thing. With Women being a majority in the “soft” majors, i.e. Education, Psychology, Social Services, and Humanities, and men being the majority in the “hard” majors, Engineering, Math, Physics. Are we going to get a society focused less on the hard sciences and thinking and more on the less industrial occupations and feeling?
    Fabius Maximus replies: This is a common view, and quite incorrect. The fraction of women in the “hard” majors is increasing rapidly.

    In fact, much of the discussion about male-female differences on this thread is without scientific foundation. For a review of some studies about this: “Sex, Math and Scientific Achievement“, Scientific American, December 2007 — “Why do men dominate the fields of science, engineering and mathematics?” It also includes this note:

    Although it has drawn little media coverage, dramatic changes have been occurring among these junior math wizards: the relative number of girls among them has been soaring. The ratio of boys to girls, first observed at 13 to 1 in the 1980s, has been dropping steadily and is now only about 3 to 1. During the same period the number of women in a few other scientific fields has surged. In the U.S., women now make up half of new medical school graduates and 75% of recent veterinary school graduates. We cannot identify any single cause for the increase in the number of women entering these formerly male-dominated fields, because multiple changes have occurred in society over the past several decades.

  32. Vinny Vidivici

    The hubris of ‘advanced’ (read: decadent) societies throughout history knows no bounds. Each moves beyond achievements in literature, science and engineering to believe the world can be arranged according to the whim and caprice of imagination and fashion.

    By all means, go on feminizing your men. But rest assured the West’s competitors, not to mention the inevitable barbarians who follow them, aren’t buying into such nonsense. And they WILL follow: As Mark Steyn wrote, permanence is the illusion of every age. Every past civilization believed its apex would endure.

    Of course, this time ’round, thanks to the democratization of literacy and education, Western metrosexuals will be able to devise exquisite rationales for their cowardice and submission. Assuming anthropologists of the future unlock our digital archives, they’ll marvel at how the West bred the cultural equivalent of prison bitches for successive waves of conquerors. Apparently, there were not enough G.I. Jane’s to protect them.

  33. #23 raises a very important point about certain jobs becoming “women’s work”. Interesting sideline, when exactly did accounting (i.e. former big-6 accounting) become “women’s work”? Cross reference when all the men went to the consulting side of all these firms (middle 1990’s) and the steam-rolling of the basic audit function that led to all the reported earnings gimmicks that never would have flown when accountants were men (tech bubble & current fiasco).

    The question that it raises is will 3rd party certifications (ex. Cisco Certified, CPA, CFA) and appreticeships return or grow in response to the no longer sensical cost benefit of most college degrees? Especially in light of Ricci and the impending collapse of disparate impact? Sailer would say the benefit of the college racket is the freedom to test IQ (i.e. the SAT). Doesn’t Ricci weaken that monopoly? I doubt that you would go back to the days of A. Lincoln becoming a lawyer by his own reading, but could you not envision professions that become open to men who can prove they can study on their own without having to submit to multi-culti university junk?

    Yes colleges have been a 1st level sorting mechanism, but a crude one at best that is getting its first serious look at what is behind the curtain, as they rasied the price in an attempt to extort too much from their role as gatekeeper. Cheaper and better gatekeepers can easily be imagined. The question is if they will be allowed to develop.

  34. Captain Ramen

    Just as the last post on education pointed out, a college degree is nothing but a marker for where you belong in the the class system. As men we will simply refuse to participate in it. I get invited to less cool parties but I also don’t have a mountain of debt. Big deal.

    But they will lead. Think about this: Not only do girls study harder and get better grades than boys; girls now take more high school math and science than do high school boys. If there is a “weaker sex,” it isn’t female.

    The big flaw in our education system is that how someone performs at 18 has nothing to do with how well they do at 35 and 50. At best it is an imperfect indicator of future performance.

    Clearly women dominate advertising, marketing, the civil service, etc. They are starting to make gains elsewhere. But are women starting to gain parity as plumbers, electricians, licensed contractors, soldiers? As America makes the transition from rich superpower to ’emerging nation,’ what jobs will be more important?

    One day we will wake up and realize that we have more upper body strength than women do. Enjoy it while it lasts, ladies.

  35. It will be interesting to see the day when government continues to more amply fund social programs–be that Medicare, child care, environmental concerns, education, etc.–and further raises taxes on high-earners, the majority of which, extrapolating from Fabius’s data, will be women. Considering the overwhelming young/single/female vote for liberal Democrats, including our president, I wonder whether those voters will enthusiastically embrace income “redistribution” when, in our brave new matriarchy, the income is their own.

  36. Not sure if this has been considered or not – An article supporting the idea that gender of instructor impacts the performance of the students is here: “A Formula for Success“, Ray Fisman, Slate, 5 June 2009 — “Want more women to study science? Hire more female professors.” — focusing on student performance in ‘hard’ sciences at the United States Air Force Academy. Short version: both genders perform better if their instructor is of the same gender…but women were more positively influenced by women instructors at the male-dominated academy.

    On a broader level…I’m not sure how much attention we should focus on equality of outcome (ie, equal enrollment, graduation, and placement in the job market) vs equality of opportunity. There is slippery slope here, that ends with smart people having to wear attention-shattering noisy headsets to offset their advantages. That’s a fix that’s worse than the original problem.

    But I am concerned about the downward trend of male higher education. I think, however, that it is one of a multitude of issues – women are still stalked and raped, poorer men and women still have less opportunity for higher ed than the childern of the wealthy, and the end goal of education is arguably overly-focused on self-satisfaction and material gain than the common good. I think that in tackling these issues, we need to be careful to avoid unforseen negative outcomes – cutting off our nose to spite our faces.

    This is an area where, just maybe, our dispariate local school districts will be an advantage – we have space (if not time) to attempt different approaches. Are there districts that are consistently graduating more male college students than the average? What are they doing?

  37. FM note: Great comment. I strongly recommend reading Prof Baumeister’s speech in full! Thanks to altoids for posting it.
    There is a excellent, if slightly over-ambitious, lecture on biological differences between the sexes that may help shed light on this discussion: “Is There Anything Good About Men?“, Roy F. Baumeister (Professor of Psychology at Florida State U), 2007 meeting of the American Psychological Association. Opening:

    You’re probably thinking that a talk called “Is there anything good about men” will be a short talk! Recent writings have not had much good to say about men. Titles like “Men Are Not Cost Effective” {Amazon} speak for themselves. Maureen Dowd’s book was called “Are Men Necessary?” and although she never gave an explicit answer, anyone reading the book knows her answer was no. Brizendine’s book “The Female Brain” introduces itself by saying, “Men, get ready to experience brain envy.” Imagine a book advertising itself by saying that women will soon be envying the superior male brain!

    Nor are these isolated examples. {Alice} Eagly’s (see here} research has compiled mountains of data on the stereotypes people have about men and women, which the researchers summarized as “The WAW effect.” WAW stands for “Women Are Wonderful.” Both men and women hold much more favorable views of women than of men. Almost everybody likes women better than men. I certainly do.

    My purpose in this talk is not to try to balance this out by praising men, though along the way I will have various positive things to say about both genders. The question of whether there’s anything good about men is only my point of departure. The tentative title of the book I’m writing is “How culture exploits men,” but even that for me is the lead-in to grand questions about how culture shapes action. In that context, what’s good about men means what men are good for, from the perspective of the system.

    If you accept his thesis that, historically, men gravitate to high-risk, high-reward tasks, and women are used for low-risk, constant-reward tasks, then the American economy will, as a whole, become less entrepreneurial, and less dynamic.

    As FM tirelessly points out, the university functions less as an education and more as a social marker and class filter. The university serves as a gateway to high-prestige, high-income professions. Due to the enormous importance of the university, middle- and upper-class parents push their children to configure their lives in a manner optimal for college acceptance. There are well-defined benchmarks, and well-defined goals, and well-defined rewards. Study hard, and you will be a rich doctor someday.

    In general, young girls are more receptive to this proposition than young boys. Having just very recently graduated from university, I can tell you that career-minded women overwhelmingly gravitate to professional fields such as law and medicine, professions that are rigidly structured, with definite career paths.

    The same is not true for men. While most men are unimaginative, there are a sub-set of men who are born risk-takers, born entrepreneurs. And it is these men (and a rare few women), who are responsible for most of the wealth in this country.

    This leads to several implications:

    1. The US economy will become less flexible. There will be less creative destruction. A company staffed with people who want low-risk, constant-reward will not bet-the-farm on a innovative new product.

    2. The vast majority of company founders and CEOs will continue to be male. For every success story, there are a thousand failures. It will be mostly men who take that risk.

    3. Growth in regulation and government rent-seeking. The status-quo is always threatened by change. Those who have sacrificed so much to reach the pinnacle of there chosen professions will be loath to see their status threatened (see: professional journalists). They will erect barriers-to-entry, and extract government guarantees. The most perfect example of this is public-school-teacher unions.

  38. Claude Hopper

    I wonder how much having a single mother affects a boy’s academic performance. That cohort has a pronounced non-academic tendency, that of joining the prison population.

  39. I think the reason is that the system is favoring certain personality types . People – persons tend to comply , so if entering an exam means submitting a verbose portfolio , providing 6 photoidentities and grandmothers blood group , they do it . Faced with a computor-marked , multiple choice question , none of the choices being an unequivocal right answer , they are happy to pick the one they think the examiner wants . Reading that interviewers are interested in their extra curricular activities , they put without a twinge , that they were keen members of the Sea Scouts and play the Oboe to Grade 6 , when they have actually seen a movie about a boat and once picked up a recorder .
    Action-persons read the rationalised standards for the modules for the cuuiculum requirements index to the portfolio , and are possessed by an overwhelming urge to throw bricks through windows instead.

  40. Career women tend to have few if any children. Women of the west in pursuit of careers will work hard through their child-bearing years, then discover they have waited too late. Very low fertility rates among college educated women points to a future where hospital maternity wards see only poor and uneducated women.

    If children are only born of the poor, the uneducated, the state-dependent women, what will be the perspective of the next generation, and the next? Will they want to work hard to pay extortionate tax rates to pay your entitlements — your social security, your medicare, your national health care. Not likely.

    Among many ethnic minorities, the rate of illegitimate birth exceeds 50%. In US blacks, the rate is near 70%. Do you wonder whether crime rates, drug addiction rates, HIV and STD rates, are related in some way to illegitimacy rates?

    No, don’t speak about the heritability of intelligence, or the potentially dysgenic effect of “progressive” immigration and entitlement programs. That wouldn’t be politically correct, not at all.

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