Thirty years ago, nearly every college in the country had more male students than female students – but that trend has reversed itself.
According to pbs.com, women now make up 56 percent of the college going population.
In addition to outnumbering men at college, women are outperforming men in the classroom. According to Data Notes, the average GPA of women in high school is two-tenths higher than that of men.
“This trend seems to start in grade school and continue through college,” Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Claire Etaugh said.
Bradley seems to be no exception. The average GPA for men at Bradley is 2.97 and 3.21 for women, Registrar Katherine Beaty said.
“I was not really surprised to hear that statistic,” freshman mechanical engineering major Kenton Kammer said. “The girls I know just spend more time studying.”
Etaugh said there are many factors that cause the difference.
“Society encourages girls to do well in school while boys are not given as much encouragement,” Etaugh said.
She also said from an early age, girls are expected to do better in the classroom, while boys are expected to be disruptive.
“Girls are more compliant and obedient in the classroom and more likely to work hard in subjects that don’t interest them,” she said. “Boys, on the other hand, are less likely to work hard at subjects they don’t like.”
Despite women performing better in the classroom, men tend to do better on standardized tests.
The average male earned a 21.1 on the ACT in 2005, while the average female earned a 20.9, according to www.act.org.
“Unfortunately, women performing better in school does not always translate into getting a better or higher paying job,” Etaugh said. “There is a gender gap when it comes to pay in the United States.”
More men are going into higher paying fields, such as engineering, Etaugh said, and that is partially responsible for the pay gap
“There is no evidence that there is an inborn difference in men and women’s ability to do math,” she said. “Yet men are encouraged to go into math and science-related fields, and women are encouraged to go into fields like English.”
Beaty said 88 percent of students in the College of Engineering and Technology are men, while 89 percent of students in the College of Education and Health Sciences are female.
The average salary of an elementary school teacher in the U.S. is $45,670 while the average salary of an engineer is $56,376, according to the National Center for Policy Analysis.
Etaugh said the other major factor in the pay gap is discrimination.
“There is a cultural secret in all this,” she said. “Men are getting better jobs and making more money, even if they did not get the grades.”
Etaugh also said the education system is not to blame for these various gender disparities.
“There are a lot of social pressures on both men and women to do certain things and act a certain way,” she said. “The best way to combat gender disparity is to give children the most opportunities to go into whatever field they choose.”