Instapundit alerts us to Melana Zyla Vickers’s analysis for the Weekly Standard of the alarming–and, of course, ignored by the mainstream media–imbalance of young women over young men as undergraduates at our college campuses. As Vickers points out, the problem isn’t simply one of high male dropout rates at inner-city high schools; it’s increasingly affecting the middle class. She writes:
“At colleges across the country, 58 women will enroll as freshmen for every 42 men. And as the class of 2010 proceeds toward graduation, the male numbers will dwindle. Because more men than women drop out, the ratio after four years will be 60–40, according to projections by the Department of Education.”
At some well-regarded colleges, 40-60 male-female ratio is already close to a reality, Vickers notes. At Brandeis University, only 46 percent of undergrads are men, and at Boston Unversity, men represent less than 41 percent of the total student population. Yet, as Vickers notes, at the U.S. Department of Education, even under the Bush administration, it’s still 1975, not 2005, and they’re fretting over lack of funding for girls’ basketball:
“The home of Title IX enforcement continues to be so preoccupied with advancing women that a recent 50–page study called Gender Differences in Participation and Completion of Undergraduate Education focuses not on the shortfall of men that’s evident in practically every data point, but on tiny subpopulations of women who still have ‘risk characteristics,’ such as those entering university after age 29. And the department still spends money on studies such as Trends in Educational Equity of Girls and Women: 2004, while ignoring the eye–popping trends for boys and men.”
“The gender gap is even more palpable within the colleges themselves, because women and men gravitate to different majors. While a split in preferences has always been the case, the gender imbalance in the overall college makes departments so segregated that campus life just ain’t what it used to be. In North Carolina’s public and private universities, a typical psychology class has four women for every man. In education, the ratio is five to one. The English and foreign language departments are heavily female as well.
“The consequences go far beyond a lousy social life and the longer–term reality that many women won’t find educated male peers to marry. There are also academic consequences, and economic ones.
“Only a few fields, such as business and the social sciences, show men and women signing up at comparable rates. Math, computers, engineering, and the physical sciences continue to be male–dominated (in North Carolina, for example, engineering is 79 percent male), and the total number of graduates in these economically essential fields is often stagnant or declining. Thus, between 1992 and 2002, when the number of bachelor’s degree–earners in California’s public university system grew by 11 percent, the number of engineering bachelor’s degrees shrank by 8 percent. California’s private universities fared better, but the gap is still striking: bachelor’s degrees grew by 41 percent overall, while bachelor’s degrees in engineering grew only 27 percent.”
This is crazy, because it’s engineering and science–fields that naturally attract men (sorry, Larry Summers-bashers!) that are crucial to our nation’s competitivenes. But our nation’s educrats remain in thrall to a 30-year-old feminist orthodoxy that insists that it’s girls, not boys, who need encouragement to pursue higher education. Time to wake up, Bush administration!