Women on Top, chapter 10: the growing gender gap in education

Summary: The gender revolution occurs on many fronts, but the growing gender gap in education might be the most important — with women outperforming men. The effects on society are incalculable, the   potential for a counter-revolution mysterious.

“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”
— Attributed to Irina Dunn, circa 1970. The catchphrase for a new century.

Dominant Woman.
Dominant Woman. Getty Images.

For decades the US educational establishment has been crushing men while focusing its efforts on the enrichment of women — special women-only programs, scholarships, etc. For a decade people have warning that we have moved beyond equality, creating a widening gender gap.  Now the results have become impossible to ignore. Next come the consequences. They won’t be pretty.

The 2015 Digest of Education Statistics by the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) tells the tale. Mark J. Perry (Prof Economics at U MI-Flint) crunches the numbers to show the sad story. See this astonishing table and excerpt from his note at the AEI.

Gender Gap - Class of 2017
Click to enlarge.

“Over the next decade, the gender disparity for college degrees is expected to increase according to Department of Education forecasts, so that by 2026, women will earn 150 college degrees for every 100 degrees earned by men, with especially huge gender imbalances in favor of women for associate’s degrees (187 women for every 100 men) and master’s degrees (140 women for every 100 men).

“The huge gender inequity in higher education for the Class of 2017 is nothing new — women have earned a majority of US college degrees in every year since 1982 and since then have earned an increasingly larger share of college degrees compared to men in almost every year …

“Despite the huge and growing ‘degree gap’ over the last 35 years in favor of women, there are still almost 200 women’s centers on college campuses around the country (list here), some receiving public funding, most with the stated goal of ‘promoting (or advocating) gender equity’ and promoting ‘women’s success.’ …”

Professor Perry lists a remarkable number of discriminatory programs and awards for women in Michigan schools and universities, all intended to promote a gender equality that was achieved decades ago. The stench of their hypocrisy cannot be long hidden.

We cannot yet see the results of this large and growing gender gap, but they will be significant. Education is the key in our society, the source of credentials which act as tickets to career advancement. In each field income gaps will eventually appear — with women earning more then men in many occupations. This will force profound changes in society, for good or ill.

The unabashed shift of our institutions from pursuit of equality to special treatment for women also might produce another kind of change — blowback from men. There is always a counter-revolution.

“Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences.”
— Attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson.

Woman in Charge

Many warnings, which we ignored

“For many women, going it alone has meant poverty and loneliness, not empowerment.”
— “‘All the Men Here Are Either on Drugs or Unemployed’” by Alana Semuels in The Atlantic, 9 May 2017 — “That’s meant women are left to pick up the pieces.”

Amazing how the news media still overflows with stories about oppressed women in America for decades while the education gender gap of women over men steadily widens. Fake news, indeed. But the truth cannot be hidden forever. These articles and reports show the slow recognition of this problem. They also show no impulse by our leaders to change their policies.

The gender gap has been growing for at least two decades, as seen 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:  26% in 2005, up almost half from 1987 (for marriages in which both work).  This includes graduates from the 1970s and 1980’s; the rate for couples who graduated in the last 5 – 10 years is certainly far higher.

A sample of the warnings in both research and the mass media.

  1. The myth that schools shortchanged girls“ by Judith Kleinfeld (Prof Psychology, U Alaska) in Men’s Insight Magazine, 1998
  2. Why Do Women Outnumber Men in College?“ in the Digest of the National Bureau of Economic Research, January 2007.
  3. Projections of Education Statistics to 2016“ by the US Department of Education, December 2007.
  4. Women Now Dominate Higher Education at Every Degree Level; The Female-Male Degree Gap Grows“ by Mark Perry (Prof of Economics, U of Michigan) at his blog Carpe Diem, 2 June 2009.
  5. The Shriver Report by the Center for American Progress, October 2009 — “A Women’s Nation Changes Everything”.
  6. The End of Men” by Hanna Rosin in the The Atlantic, 8 June 2010.
  7. The Rise of Women: 7 Charts Showing Women’s Rapid Gains in Educational Achievement” by the Russell Sage Foundation, 2013.
  8. Graph showing the percentage of Bachelor’s degrees conferred to women, by major (1970-2012). The latter shows that women are catching up fast in the sciences: 40-45% in Math, Statistics, and the Physical Sciences in 2012, and 58% Biology degrees. Based on the NCES 2013 Digest of Education Statistics.
  9. Women’s Participation in Education and the Workforce“ by the Council of Economic Advisers, 14 October 2014.

Grrl Power

Rejoicing about the growing gender gap!

There are many articles applauding the growing gender gap since it hit the mainstream media. Here is a sampler. It could easily be 10x longer and still not include them all.

Foreshadowing all of this is The Natural Superiority of Women by Ashley Montagu (1952).

  1. Why Women Are the Superior Gender“ by Clifford N Lazarus in Psychology Today, 2 February 2011 — “In a Battle of the Sexes, Bet on the Women!”
  2. Superiority of Female Workers Confirmed: Study Finds Women Really Do Work Longer And Harder Than Men“ by Elise Ackerman in Forbes, 24 February 2013 — Findings from this study by the Ponemon Institute.
  3. Why Women Are The Stronger Sex According To Science“ by the Huffpost Design Studio, 24 April 2014 — Much of this is snark and gibberish, but there is a core of fact to it. This is unabashed applause for the gender gap. The last bullet says “the best is yet to come.”
  4. A Better World, Run by Women“ by Melvin Konner in the Wall Street Journal, 6 March 2015 — “Male biology has brought the world war, corruption and scandal. Women are poised to lead us to a better place.”

See Hanna Rosin’s book The End of Men: And the Rise of Women (2012) and Women After All: Sex, Evolution, and the End of Male Supremacy by by Melvin Konner, M.D. (2015).

Books about causes of the growing gender gap.

For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about women and gender roles, especially these…

Recommended books to understand the problem.

The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex
Available at Amazon.
The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies are Harming Our Young Men
Available at Amazon.

10 thoughts on “Women on Top, chapter 10: the growing gender gap in education”

  1. Has the percentage of the male population receiving degrees increased or decreased since 1982. I could not find any data for this in the supporting articles.

  2. This article on rust belt women having hard time finding men worth marrying might be related. “‘All the Men Here Are Either on Drugs or Unemployed’” by ALANA SEMUELS in The Atlantic, 9 May 2017 — “The disappearance of manufacturing and the rise of opioid abuse has hit men in the Rust Belt hard. That’s meant women are left to pick up the pieces.”

    I spent a month in Thailand recently, and a story I heard often went like this: Girl meets boy, girl has a kid or two, boy leaves, girl leaves the kids to her mother’s care and goes to Pattaya to have sex for money.

    Jordan Peterson believes men are naturally lazy and irresponsible and I’m inclined to agree. The old dominance hierarchy, or what the feminists call patriarchy was of course in need of reform like all dominance hierarchies are, but perhaps smashing the system of mutual obligations that made men responsible was a bad idea.

    1. Tony,

      Thanks for the link to that powerful article. It reads like reporting from Russia today!

      Alana’s unstated assumption is that it is men’s role in life to marry women then work to support them and the children. It doesn’t occur to her to ask what men are getting from this, or imagine that they might lose interest in the game. The women are still there for sex. There are sports, games, booze and drugs for the other hours. For many men, what’s not to like?

      “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.””

      “For many women, going it alone has meant poverty and loneliness, not empowerment.”

      Perhaps radical feminism — on which they redesigned society — isn’t working out so well? I suspect this toothpaste will be difficult to get back into the tube.

    2. Please provide the Link where Peterson asserts what you think he believes. Did you miss his recent recant on MGTOW as pathetic weasels? Talk of dominance….as asserted by the Author, this toothpaste is out and not easily returned to the tube.

  3. For decades the US educational establishment has been crushing men while focusing its efforts on the enrichment of women — special women-only programs, scholarships, etc. For a decade people have warning that we have moved beyond equality, creating a widening gender gap. Now the results have become impossible to ignore. Next come the consequences. They won’t be pretty.”

    There is not even a small shred of acknowledgement of such in the usual media places. Some people may have been warning of this but …….and it is still possible to ignore. Sorry.

    Wait just a awhile longer, maybe?

  4. The belief boys should be strong allows aggressive treatment from infancy to create anger and fear so they will be tough. There is less kind verbal interaction and less mental/emotional verbal support for fear of coddling. This treatment creates higher layers of average stress for boys. These layers remain in the mind taking away real mental energy from academics so they will have to work harder to receive the same mental reward. This less supportive treatment creates emotional distance/distrust of others. It creates lags in communication we as girls are given continually. The higher average stress creates activity for stress relief not genetics. The higher average stress creates higher muscle tension which hurts handwriting more pressure and tighter grip hurting motivation early fatigue. The total effect with our false genetic models firmly in place including less care creates more failure and a feeling of hopelessness. To make it even tougher for boys is granting of love honor feelings of self-worth only on condition of achievement. This was designed to keep Male esteem low and be willing to give their lives in war for tidbits of love honor from society. Males not achieving are given ridicule and discipline to make them try harder. Support is not given for fear of coddling. Many boys falling behind in school turn their attention to sports and video games for small measures of love honor not received in school. The belief boys should be strong and the false belief in genetics create a denial of the differential treatment which is creating the low academics low esteem and other problems boys are facing. Emotional cannibalism allowed upon boys who appear weak. Note this is not about showing feelings or openness from boys; it is about society so boys feel much wariness toward parents and teachers who more freely use more aggressive treatment for any sign of vulnerability. This is condoned by society today. This problem is affecting all male children later adults but the lower the socioeconomic environment and more time in lower areas the more amplified and set in place the harsh and less supportive treatment given those male children by parents teachers peers others.
    As girls we are given much more mental emotional social physical support and care by parents teachers and peers. We enjoy a kind of reverse catharsis of much continuous care while the boys receive the opposite more hurtful treatment to make them strong. This is now killing off boys in the information age while providing girls with all of the good things. As girls we are treated much better and so enjoy more hope and support from society. Since we as girls are given by differential treatment much more continual positive – mental social/emotional support verbal interaction and care from an early age onward this creates the opposite outcome for girls when compared with boys. We receive love and honor simply for being girls. This creates all of the good things. We have lower average stress for ease of learning. We enjoy much more freedom of expression from much protection by society that makes us look more unstable at times but we can also use that same freedom of expression to give verbal silent abuse and hollow kindness/patronization to our Male peers with impunity knowing we are protected. We enjoy much lower muscle tension for ease in handwriting and motivation to write. We enjoy much more positive trust/communication from parents teachers peers and support for perceived weaknesses. We are reaping a bonanza in the information age. Now with girls and women taking over many areas of society we enjoy even more lavishing of love and honor from society while boys and men are now failing more so and are now given more ridicule and abuse by society. Mind you this is now coming from many girls and women using our still protected freedoms of expression and more so with now false feelings of superiority.

    1. ynn,

      “The belief boys should be strong allows aggressive treatment from infancy to create anger and fear so they will be tough. ”

      Wow. I feel sad for you if that’s what your parents were like. While there are parents like that, it is very rare in America. I was a Boy Scout leader for 15 years, and met hundreds of parents. I never met anyone who said or acted on that very strange belief.

  5. Sadly this is the normal treatment for boys by many parents, teachers, others increasingly so from infancy. This poor treatment increases much more so as we go down the socioeconomic ladder and more time in those environments. They are also given much less kind, stable, verbal interaction for fear of coddling. Even in nice, middle class families, boys are falling behind collectively from their middle class female peers. Try to look at it this way. Here we have real environmental variables we can use as tools to help all students improve by changing the way we treat them from infancy. This also removes the false sense of hopelessness created by our false genetic models. The false belief from that would be either make boys try harder or resign boys to the false belief of genetic inferiority. We need to redefine our average stress as many maintained layers of mental work which are maintained by our minds, so various fears, anxieties along with various defensive and strength oriented weights and values are then carried on by boys and even expanded in layers over time by boys. This creates the higher average stress creating the more activity (not a genetic problem); higher muscle tension hurting handwriting (not a developmental problem; poor reading skills (not from lack of effort but from both higher average stress removing vital mental energy from performing and enjoying the “abstract skill” of reading. Also the much less social vocabulary and much less knowledge of syntax from much less kind, stable, verbal interaction and much more firm and commanding short verbal interaction usually used also creates much less social vocabulary than girls, so they are handicapped in this area also for reading. We need to look for such variables as a means to help all students improve. We cannot reflect our individual environments upon everyone else who come form very different environments.

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