Let Nancy Pelosi bray about breaking the “marble ceiling.” But there really wasn’t a ceiling. Women face few obstacles today. In fact, as we’ve noted before, we outnumber the fellas on college campuses. Boris Johnson notes in the (London) Spectator that the same holds true in Merrie Old England:
“Look at those girls go! Women now make up 57 per cent of university entrants, and they outnumber men in every subject — including maths and engineering. This thing is huge, and it is happening at every level, and no one seems to be thinking about the consequences.
“Most trainee barristers and two thirds of medical students are now women — compared with 29 per cent women in the early 1990s. If current trends continue, most doctors will be female by 2012. It is ludicrous for the Equal Opportunities Commission to keep droning on about ‘glass ceilings’ at the top of corporate Britain, or in the judiciary, when you think how fast this transformation has been.
“It is a stunning fact — the biggest social revolution of our lifetime — that far more women than men are now receiving what is in theory an elite academic education. When I was at university 20 years ago, the figures were almost exactly the other way round, with the ratio 60:40 in favour of males. Far more female graduates are coming out of our universities than male graduates — and, in 30 years’ time, when these people reach the peak of their careers, the entire management structure of Britain will have been transformed and feminised.
“Speaking as an ardent feminist, I expect that this will have many wonderful results: a culture that is more feng shui and emotionally literate and altogether nicer, and an economy that benefits from unleashing the phenomenal energy and talents of British women who are — if GCSEs, A-levels and university entrance results mean anything — currently giving the male sex a good old intellectual thrashing.”
Johnson appears not to have read Christine Whelan’s book, Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women, which debunks the feminist whine that men are intimidated by and don’t marry their intellectual peers. But I think that he is right that smart women want to marry smart, accomplished men. If so, the decline in the number of men who go on to higher education will have a profound effect on the institution of marriage:
“Now look at those university entrance figures again, feed in that basic human prejudice, and some recent social phenomena become intelligible. If you have a sudden surge in the number of highly educated women — more women than men — then it is not surprising that you have a fair few Bridget Jones-type characters who are having a tough job finding Mr. Darcy. It is a gloomy truth that 40 per cent of female graduates born in 1970 are likely to enter their forties childless.
“As a result of the same instinct — female desire to procreate with their intellectual equals — the huge increase in female university enrolments is leading to a rise in what the sociologists call assortative mating. A snappier word for it is homogamy. The more middle-class graduates we create, the more they seem to settle down with other middle-class graduates, very largely because of the feminine romantic imperative already described. The result is that the expansion of university education has actually been accompanied by a decline in social mobility, and that is because these massive enrolments have been overwhelmingly middle-class.”