Gender gaps

A recent story highlights the increasing polarisation of degree subjects, with a huge rise in subjects dominated by women and continued domination by men in the subjects you’d expect.  The most disturbing statistic concerns those from poorer backgrounds:  Men from such backgrounds are 50% less likely to go to university than women are.


I’d be interested to here the thoughts of FP readers on this.


NOTE: The story has a very annoying MEN ARE IN TROUBLE AND THE FEMINISTS DON’T CARE AT ALL tone.  This pisses me off too. But I do think the issues raised by it are still worthy of discussion.


UPDATE: The story may be entirely untrustworthy.  Its photo caption reads “Along with psychology, history, philosophy, English and biology, law is a subject heavily dominated by female students”.  Huh???

4 thoughts on “Gender gaps

  1. One problem is that HORIZONTAL sex segregation in employment, and so in preparation for employment, hasn’t been adequately addressed–especially in non-elite occupations. As for the gap in enrollment one suspects this is because men without college degrees have a much better shot at decent jobs–jobs which de facto exclude women–than comparably educated women. Though the market is shrinking, men can still get decent blue-collar work. Women without college degrees can’t get those josts.

  2. hbaber’s suggestion (as I read it) makes sense when one factors in that the UK is moving more and more to a high-fees, massive debt model (familiar in the US). Pre-2010 – and more so as one goes back – it would have been odd to think of university as something one reluctantly resorted to. One went to university, fully funded, if one got the grades, an outcome closely tied to socio-economic status for familiar reasons. But now, college degree courses are open to anyone (pretty much) willing to take on chronic debt. And so one goes if more attractive alternatives are closed off, and that may indeed be truer of low-SES women than low-SES men.

    It would be interesting to know if the gender imbalance (over all subjects) is insignificant at high-SES. The report is not clear.

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