Equity & Diversity Opinion

The Times Discovers the Gender-Skewed Campus Scene

By Richard Whitmire — February 06, 2010 1 min read
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When campuses approach 60 percent female, the dating scene gets out of kilter, and not in a healthy way. In this Styles piece, the Times puts a cute face on it.

But as described in this Chronicle of Higher Education piece in 2008, written after visiting James Madison University, there’s nothing cute about it. Avoiding this situation is why colleges are willing to practice affirmative action for white males.

What’s playing out, as described in this recent commentary in The Wall Street Journal, is a triggering of what scientists call the operational sex ratio. Studied more in the animal than human kingdom, it’s what happens when one sex outnumbers the other.

Compared to what happens after a war, Gold Rush or birth selection (think China), the campus imbalance is minor. Nevertheless, it’s very real on many campuses that on graduate day are two thirds female, and something that doesn’t necessarily disappear after graduation day. That’s what a lot of young women think -- before they arrive in workforces that are just as female dominated.

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