Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Friday, March 25, 2005

It's all society's fault

Here the Harvard Crimson trumpets the news that, nationwide, more women than men are now enrolled as college and university undergraduates (including at Harvard itself). Do not fear, though -- the Crimson is not rejoicing:

But while women are outstripping men in college enrollment, men and women still do not receive equal returns from a college education, said Barbara Gault, director of research at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington D.C. “Even though women are outnumbering men in undergraduate programs, it doesn’t mean they are achieving equality in the workforce,” Gault said. “There is still a gender wage gap. For a woman to earn as much as a man with a bachelor degree she would need a professional degree.”
Without any attempt at analysis, the article leapfrogs to the fact that this differential results from discrimination:
Assistant Professor of Sociology Prudence L. Carter, who has done work on the sociology of education while at Harvard, suggested that such continuing gender-based discrimination may shape female educational aspirations. “If we know that the wage differential is still quite gendered, females may feel compelled to get more education to reach a certain wage bracket,” said Carter. “Parents may also place more pressure on daughters because of a sense that women have a double hurdle to jump.”
The article did abruptly jump subjects to note that more women may be entering college because men (or should I say, boys) are faring badly at American high schools, something I think is a huge problem for American boys and, by extension, for America itself:
The higher percentage of girls in higher education may also be linked to discrimination against men on the high school level, said Professor of Sociology Michèle Lamont. “One factor is that, in general, teachers at the high school level tend to be tougher on boys than they are on girls,” Lamont said. “Minority boys who come to school in hip-hop fashion are more likely to be perceived as disruptive. Teachers’ perceptions of codes of femininity lead them to reinforce academic achievement for girls.”
The article is surprising inarticulate, and misses something important: women might be earning less after college because many women (myself included) get off the career track to get on the Mommy track. And despite strides in modern science, I haven't seen any pregnant men in my neighborhood lately. The feminists can rant as they wish but I suspect that biology may be economic destiny, at least in many cases. The article also doesn't address the fact that boys and girls have very different interests. As the mother of a very boy-like boy, and a very girl-like girl, I can tell you that I can easily foresee that they will take different career paths. Absent huge personality changes, she'll go for something nuturing (and not be that concerned about money), while he will opt for something high competitive, with big earning potential. Did I mention that biology may be economic destiny?