College Gender Gap Widens What Having More Women Graduates Might Mean for Work Force

By Comerford, Mike | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 19, 2003 | Go to article overview

College Gender Gap Widens What Having More Women Graduates Might Mean for Work Force


Comerford, Mike, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Mike Comerford Daily Herald Business Writer

There's already a big gender gap at many area colleges and a new study suggests women will continue to enroll and graduate more often than men for years to come.

The trend has some analysts speculating on the effects it will have on the workplace and the economy.

"We think the growing gender gap will have economic consequences," said Paul Smolarcik, spokesman for the Washington- based Business Roundtable, an association of chief executives that sponsored the study along with Northeastern University in Boston. "Particularly, it could effect the labor force, unemployment, productivity, payrolls and taxes. It could impact on things like company health plans too."

"The Growing Gender Gaps in College Enrollment and Degree Attainment" study found women outpace men by about 28 percent in enrollment in colleges and stay to graduate more often. The graduation totals for women outpace men by 51 percent at community colleges and 33 percent at four-year institutions.

The gap means that women will routinely have a higher level of education than men in the workplace.

"Logically, you'd come to the conclusion that you will see women in more positions of real power, and in this society that means in higher-paid jobs and higher political positions," said Susan Weininger, director of the School of Liberal Studies, Roosevelt University, Chicago, and co-founder of its Women's and Gender Studies program.

The national gap also is being seen at local colleges.

For example, women outnumber men at Elgin Community College and William Rainey Harper College in Palatine by 55 percent to 60 percent. …

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