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Where the Boys Are ... Not on Campus

Posted September 13, 2007

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— A gender gap on college campuses nationwide continues to expand, but officials said those numbers haven't yet moved from the classroom to the boardroom.

Women earned 58 percent of bachelor degrees last year, and the number is expected to hit 60 percent by 2012, according to national figures. Females also rule on University of North Carolina system campuses, where they comprise 57.4 percent of undergraduate and graduate students.

"I don't know that this is a crisis," said Steve Farmer, admissions director at UNC-Chapel Hill. "Young men are going to college in greater numbers than ever before. It's just that young women are going to college in greater numbers than men."

Four decades ago, men accounted for about 70 percent of UNC's enrollment. But after Title IX gave women more educational opportunities, their numbers started growing, and they first outnumbered men in 1975.

North Carolina State University and the North Carolina School of the Arts are the only schools in UNC's 16-campus system with more men enrolled than women this year. Meanwhile, Duke University is close to an even split between genders.

Some people have asked if early education is somehow failing boys, who are more likely to drop out of high school, go to prison and seek lower-skilled jobs than girls.

"Some of the factors have to do with different economic opportunities available to men as opposed to women," Farmer said.

Many UNC students said they have grown accustomed to the campus gender gap.

"I think it's a really good thing because it shows growing opportunities for women," Kelsie Grabert said.

"As long as they consider you on your qualifications and they're not biased by gender, I think its completely fair," Jakub Dmochowski said.

Still, the female education numbers barely register in the corporate and political world, which remain dominated by males, said Donna Bickford, director of the Carolina Women's Center.

"I think its overblown," Bickford said of the campus gender gap. "We're often in the situation of celebrating the gains we've made, but continuing to point out the work that needs to be done."


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  • oldrebel Sep 15, 2007

    Connie Francis singing her song would have made a great background for this story.

  • seenenuf Sep 15, 2007

    This is indeed a gender issue which supercedes race. From my experience, most females always seemed to take education more seriously. When opportunities opened up in higher education, the fact that they would jump on it was a no-brainer. There's no problem at this level...unless you're in college for reasons other than getting a degree. What happens within 10 years of graduation is when it gets interesting....

  • Harrison Bergeron Sep 14, 2007

    Why is this surprising? Males, especially straight, white males have been a target for extinction for several decades now.

    First, the champions of feminism have won - women are now free to forsake their most precious duty for a career. They can just take a few weeks off work, deliver a child and send it to daycare to be raised by minimum wage workers. But it doesn't end there; thankfully, when the child is old enough it can be sent off to government school, to be indoctrinated in the ways of liberal, Marxist lunacy. All this to park that shiny new SUV in the driveway?

    Second, dumbing down requirements and engaging in quotas have ensured that members of the only "non-protected" group won't qualify for opportunities.

    Worked like a charm.

  • happymom Sep 14, 2007

    I'm confused. What's leading to the "degradation of society?" That more women are attending college? Or the unrelated things you mentioned?

  • SaveEnergyMan Sep 14, 2007

    You have to wonder what's going on? Many families are broken - with dad mostly out of the picture. You have the kid's pop icons and sports heroes doing their thing. Even when the families are together it is all about getting more stuff.

    The message we send to our children is immediate gratification. Boys get this even worse because girls are supposed to be the "responsible ones". College is an investment, not a get rich scheme. You can't teach delayed gratification to children, you have to demonstrate it in your own life.

    What we're doing is creating a society of people not capable of thinking, not capable of doing anything except what brings them immediate pleasure, and who have not a sense of consequences down the road. Not only has the gender balance changed, but college is far easier than 20 years ago (I know, I teach there). This is but the latest sympton of the degradation of our society.

  • Steve Crisp Sep 14, 2007

    Val saw comment sequence. Pain. Bleeding. Help. May not make it. Why do I keep doing this to myself? :)

  • Steve Crisp Sep 14, 2007

    Met her years ago. Only cost me $15.

    Man, am I gonna be in trouble for that one... :)

  • Timbo Sep 13, 2007

    Hmmm. Steve's wife must be cheap. ;^)

  • Steve Crisp Sep 13, 2007

    We don't have to hunt. All we do is wave a $20 around. :)

  • happymom Sep 13, 2007

    Who says these women are looking for husbands? That's not what I went to college for- the vast majority of us were there for an actual education.

    Funny, no one jumped to comment on how easy it will now be for men to attend college for the purpose of finding a wife. Hmmm...