Women on the rise in education

Studies show women today are earning more college degrees than men, a trend that has been going on for some time.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women have been more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than men since the 1940’s. This is not by a small percentage; women are now 30 percent more likely to earn a degree.

“Data on the degree completion rates between women and men over the last decade have consistently revealed that women complete their degrees at higher rates than men,” Cherie Colin, director of marketing,communications, and public relations for Skyline College said. “Additionally, gender roles have been significantly challenged as women are encouraged and supported to pursue education and enter the workforce, roles that were often reserved for men.”

The numbers at Skyline College support these ideas and the data reported. According to Office of Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness at Skyline College, Skyline is currently comprised of 5,413 female students and 4,710 male students, and 297 students who are unreported.

Not only does Skyline have more women attending, the college also has more women earning degrees, reflecting the trend throughout the U.S. In the 2014 to 2015 academic year, 380 female students earned degrees and 267 male students did. For certificate programs in the 2013 to 2014 academic year 460 female students earned certificates while 427 male students did.

Data from the Office of Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness shows women dominate in certain majors while men dominate in others. The top three most awarded degree programs for women as of the 2014 to 2015 academic year were allied health, interdisciplinary studies of letters and science, and interdisciplinary studies of social and natural sciences.

As stated in the Skyline College Degrees and Certificates Earned (by gender) 2009-2014 report, men have dominated kinesiology and physical education, interdisciplinary studies, and family and consumer studies.

“I don’t think this trend is saying anything specific in terms of the future of education except that more women are participating in higher education,” said Michele Haggar, program services coordinator in the transfer center counseling division at Skyline.

These statistics showing more women earning degrees than men could be shining through in the job market. Strategy&, a global strategy consulting team, released a report that looked at 2,500 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies, measured in five year increments. The report found the percentage of women earning CEO titles has increased from 2.1 per cent to 3.6 per cent.

“I think that if the statistics are accurate and there are more women succeeding in higher education, perhaps this might result in an increase in women participating and working in jobs that were primarily dominated by men not just in the corporate world, but in all careers and fields,” Hagger said.

Fixing the problem of women’s inequality in the workplace could begin with focusing on higher education.

“The future of higher education rests in the hands and minds of educators that strive to meet the needs of the community at large,” Colin said.“Every effort must be made to support the students that choose to pursue higher education, as well as making every effort to ensure access for those groups that are disproportionately represented. As educators, we have a responsibility to ask ourselves the question.”

While the job market does depend on the market needs, as well as other factors, if the trend of women earning more college degrees than men continues, women may be on their way to equality in the workforce. The data shows more women are attending college.

“I do think that this is a positive trend and holds a lot of benefits as it show progress in the rights of women and women empowerment,” Haggar said.