For the first time since the United States Census Bureau began collecting statistics on post-secondary education, more women than men are graduating college with a degree.
The shift occurred sometime last year and has been an entire generation in the making.
Since 1981, women have earned the majority of bachelor’s degrees. As older, less-educated women have died, more educated women have made up a greater share of the population.
The Census Bureau first began measuring college completion in 1940, when less than 5 percent of the U.S. population held a bachelor’s degree with a 1.7 percentage point gap between men and women. Relative to the portion of women with bachelor’s degrees, it would have taken a 45 percent increase among women for them to match men. Even more impressive is overcoming that gap given that women earned just 27 percent of bachelor’s degrees in 1950 when, after World War II, attendance of white men at post-secondary institutes spiked.
Women first started to make serious gains during the 1960s and 70s when it became more socially acceptable to marry later and better birth control (the pill) become easily accessible. As young women began to expect spending more time in the labour force, earning a college degree became an increasingly wise economic choice.
Since females usually score higher on tests and get better grades, it only made sense that women would eventually pull ahead.
Just something to keep on file during your next domestic argument.