Women are enrolling in college in higher numbers than ever before.
The Plattsburgh State population is 57.4 percent female and 42.6 percent male, according to the PSUC website, with a total of 5,639 undergraduate students and 412 graduate students.
In fact, according to The Atlantic, more women and girls around the world advance in education compared to men and boys.
PSUC junior and double major in writing arts, and gender and women’s studies Katie McCarthy said the answer to this question might lie in the socialization that takes place among children at young ages in elementary schools.
“I think from such a young age, women are taught to be more meek and to listen so that by the time they come into school, the boys have a hard time sitting still, listening to the teacher and doing their homework while girls are socialized to listen and to learn,” McCarthy said.
PSUC Director of Graduate Admissions Betsy Kane said she agrees with McCarthy.
“Think about the way we tend to promote sports and video games that breed hyperactivity to young boys from the start, while girls are often given activities that require greater focus and detail, like arts and crafts, and playing with dolls,” Kane said.
PSUC senior and public relations major Ashley Guy said we are coming to a time when women can hold positions of power such as CEOs and managers of big corporations. Sometimes, in rural areas, men tend to embrace trades where they can work with their hands, or take over the family business.
“I see a lot of guys going into construction and other trades that not a lot of girls want to go into,” public relations major and freshman Shauna Rickett said.“I guess it’s more appealing for guys to go straight out and just get work.”
Feminism has also played a role in the rising rate of female college applicants, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.
“With the resurgence of feminism, young women felt more empowered. They had greater guarantees by the government that job discrimination by employers against women would not be tolerated,” the Bureau states.
The NBER goes further by saying, “They anticipated a more even playing field with respect to men in terms of access to high-paying careers for college graduates and to professional and graduate college programs. Since 1980, the wage premium for a college degree has risen, especially for women.”
McCarthy also noted that a lack of academic fervor in some middle and high school students play a part in this pattern.
“There’s nothing wrong with putting energy into your social world, but I think if you don’t pay any attention to your studying and your books, then it comes down to, ‘Okay, give us X amount of dollars to come to our institution.’ If someone has never put any emphasis on that, why are they going to?” McCarthy said.
“Also, let us not overlook the fact that our country has been engaged in war on several different fronts since 9/11, drawing many of our country’s young men out of college,” Kane said.
Regarding the future of education, McCarthy urges teachers to focus on the students.
“Pay attention to your students. Don’t just write someone off because of the way people act. I think college men feel, sometimes, like they are expected to mess up,” she said.
“It is important for teachers to really try to connect on a personal level. Recognize their strengths, and boost them up.”
Email Tim Lyman at firstname.lastname@example.org.