Opinion
College & Workforce Readiness Opinion

Gender Gaps Leveling Off

By Richard Whitmire — January 26, 2010 1 min read

That’s the good news from the American Council on Education’s Gender Equity in Higher Education report (available for purchase through ACE) but written about in today’s Inside Higher Education and USA Today.

The fact that gender gaps have leveled off is not surprising. Given the “man-cession” where nearly 80 percent of the layoffs have been males shouldn’t we be seeing a dramatic reversal? Other than a jump in male enrollments at the community college level I haven’t seen that.

ACE does everyone a huge service by collecting the data, although in both stories I’m quoted taking exception to the tone of the report. These gaps should not be viewed as the new normal, something to adjust to. Nor should they be seen as racial gaps, which is the angle taken by feminist organizations arguing that men aren’t in academic trouble and college gender gaps are nothing to worry about. I picked up some of that tone in this report, which in the executive summary singled out Hispanic boys as the sole area of concern.

My suggestion for next year’s report: Carve out white boys from blue-collar families as a category for special attention. These boy troubles are an international phenomenon, and in countries such as England the focus is on the unique problems these boys are having. I see no reason why the United States should be the exception here. Let’s take a look.

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