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The Gender Gap in College: Implications for Understanding Today’s College Women. Prof. Linda J. Sax Graduate School of Education and Information Studies UCLA Presentation to the Women’s College Coalition November 17, 2010. Headlines.

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the gender gap in college implications for understanding today s college women

The Gender Gap in College: Implications for Understanding Today’s College Women

Prof. Linda J. Sax

Graduate School of Education and Information Studies

UCLA

Presentation to the Women’s College Coalition

November 17, 2010

headlines
Headlines

Disappearing Act: Where Have all the Men Gone? No Place Good

  • Washington Post, December 2005

At Colleges, Women are Leaving Men in the Dust

  • New York Times front page headline, July 2006

Wanted: College-Educated Male Leaders (Is That Too Much to Ask?)

  • Huffington Post, February 2010
total enrollment in colleges and universities
Total Enrollment in Colleges and Universities

Data gathered from National Center for Education Statistics, 2010

slide5

Gender Gap Most Pronounced Among Lower-income Students

Source: ACE 2010 Gender Equity Report

beyond the enrollment gap
Beyond the Enrollment Gap
  • What are gender differences in the characteristics of students who come to college? How has that changed over 40 years?
  • Do women and men experience college differently? Are there gender differences in the “impact” of college?
entering student trends
Entering Student Trends
  • “Freshman Survey” conducted by Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA
  • Data from 1966 to 2009
  • More than 8 million students entering more than 1,000 baccalaureate institutions
      • Trend data combines coeducational and women’s colleges
key gender differences among first year college students
Key Gender Differences Among First-Year College Students
  • Socioeconomic Background
  • Academic Self-Confidence and Engagement
  • Physical and Psychological Well-Being
  • Careers and Majors
higher gpas for women regardless of study time
Higher GPAs for Women Regardless of Study Time

% Earning "A-, A, or A+" High School GPAs, by

Time Spent Studying

80

70

60

Percent

50

40

Men

30

Women

20

10

0

6-10

11-15

<2

3-5

16+

Hours studied per week

Source: CIRP, The Freshman Survey 2007

slide23

M

W

M

W

M

W

M

W

Student Clubs 1+ HPW

Housework/Childcare 1+ HPW

Volunteering 1+ HPW

Studying 6+ HPW

slide24

M

W

M

W

M

W

M

W

Exercising/Sports

Watching TV

Partying

Playing Video/ Computer Games

career aspirations
Career Aspirations
  • Continuation of long-term trends…
    • Education, health professions, social work (dominated by women)
    • Engineering, computer programming, business (dominated by men)
  • A shifting of the gender gap in law, medicine
slide35
Gender Differences are Evident at College Entry, But...Are there Gender Differences in the “Impact” of College?
are there gender differences in the impact of college
Are there Gender Differences in the Impact of College?
  • Examined three categories of college outcomes:
    • Personality and Identity (11 measures)
    • Political and Social Attitudes (8 measures)
    • Academic Outcomes (7 measures)
  • Assessed how these outcomes were influenced by various aspects of college
    • Type of college attended
    • Place of residence during college
    • Financial situation
    • Characteristics of college student body
    • Forms of curricular and extracurricular involvement
institutional and student samples
Institutional and Student Samples

*All coeducational institutions

gender differences in college effects examples from two themes
Gender Differences in College Effects:Examples From Two Themes

Theme #1: Impact of Student-Faculty Interactions for Female Students

Theme #2: Salience of Family Connections for Female Students

student faculty interaction
Student-Faculty Interaction

Implications for Practice

  • Encourage faculty to reflect on their teaching practices and out-of-class demeanor with male and female students
  • Use orientation and first-year seminars to develop realistic expectations among students

Implications for Research

  • Assess the qualitative dimensions of student-faculty interactions (quality vs. quantity)
  • How does the nature of student-faculty interactions depend on:
    • Where the interactions take place (class, lab, office hours)
    • The academic discipline
    • The instructor’s gender
connection to family44
Connection to Family

Implications for Practice

  • Encourage parents to “let go” of their daughters
  • Be wary of the technology tether
  • Consider the needs of women who cannot go away to college

Implications for Research

  • Study the consequences of women’s ongoing connections to family
  • How does the type and frequency of student-parent communication relate to students’ personal, academic and social development during college?
  • How does this vary by students’ gender, race and class?
considerations for women s colleges
Considerations for Women’s Colleges
  • To what extent do these findings reflect the experiences of women at women’s colleges?
    • Enrollment gains for lower-income and minority women?
    • Persistently low math self-ratings?
    • Declining sense of physical health and emotional well-being?
    • Growing sense of stress?
    • Gendered perceptions of career opportunities?
    • Sensitivity to student-faculty interactions?
    • Influence of family?