Analysts Concerned About Gender Imbalance on College Campuses

Detroit Free Press
Via The Arbiter Online
Boise State University

The irony was overwhelming.

Newspaper reports heralding a drug that could extend the lives of women suffering from breast cancer competed for attention with reports expressing concern that the number of men attending college continues to decline below the number of women.

At a time when women are finally making some headway in a society that has treated them as instruments for male superiority; at a time when women are in positions to ensure that medical research more effectively extends to womens illnesses; at a time when a woman is the U.S. presidents secretary of state and could possibly mount a viable campaign for president in three years there is an outcry that perhaps the nation has done too much for women, that America may have gone too far.

About 57.4 percent of college enrollees eligible for federal student aid two years ago were women; 42.6 percent were men. The gender imbalance has some college administrators, according to USA Today, wringing their hands as they figure out what to do.

Initially, this may seem like an overreaction, until one reads the words of Jim McCorkell, founder of a college-preparatory program for low-income kids in St. Paul, Minn., who was concerned that only 30 percent of his clients were boys last year.

We actually did a little affirmative action, he told USA Today. If we had a tie (between a male and a female), we gave it to a boy.

Analysts are concerned about the future of boys, whose careers were made in blue-collar jobs. Those have dried up in the dust of technological advancements that require college experience for many jobs that once didnt have such a learning curve.

McCorkell wondered why there isnt more of an outcry.Perhaps, it is because there is nothing wrong.

Perhaps, instead of concentrating on the differences between boys and girls and whether more girls are going to college, America could concentrate more on children in elementary school. One college professor suggested that, if the gap persists, preferences should be given to men. Such ill-advised action might help a few boys. But it also might harm the future career of the woman who discovers a cure for breast cancer. And that would set America back by quite a few decades.

Boise State University reported a greater amount of gender imbalance in 2004 than previous years. In 2004, the ratio of male to female applicants was 46 percent to 54 percent.