Women graduate from college more than men. In 2017, federal statistics that showed that 60 percent of those enrolled at college and universities were women. It’s been that way for 35 years. The question is why.
Statistics show colleges are not preferring women over men for college entry. The simple answer is that more women are choosing to go to college.
Many in academics and social analysts have speculated the many reasons for this phenomenon. Possible answers lie in more opportunity, a delay in marriage and children and economic changes. Most of the reasons relate to the rise in feminism and women’s empowerment.
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Truly, the answer is much simpler. Women chose not to depend on men. Men must go to work instead of going to college.
Women growing up in the 1970s and 1980s were largely from traditional families where they had a stay-at-home mother and a working father who lived in the home. While the traditional arrangement offered advantages such as a full-time parent and economic stability, it also had disadvantages.
One of the primarily disadvantages is that women who stayed home didn’t have resources should something happened, like a husband’s death or divorce. Statistics show the number of degrees awarded to women went from 37 percent in 1960 to 57 percent in 2000. In 1960, only 39 percent of women earning degrees decided to seek a job. The number changed to 49 percent in 1970.
As divorce rates soared in the 1970s and 1980s, young women saw their mothers suffer financially because of their lack of education and work experience. They decided to never let that happen to them. The best way to do that is to get a good education and a great job before considering marriage and children.
Boys were going through a similar struggle. Divorce left them feeling marriage wasn’t worth it. Birth control and the sexual revolution of the sixties became prominent. That made the idea of marriage for sex obsolete. The result was more men becoming unexpected fathers.
According to the National Institutes of Health, 48 percent of women between 15 and 44 years old in 1994 had at least one unplanned pregnancy.
Traditional lifestyles were more suitable for education and financial success as men were encouraged to plan for responsibilities. The idea was you get an education, a job, then marriage and children. The man was financially suited when they became fathers. With the rise of unplanned pregnancies, many found themselves searching for work instead of pursuing college.
Single fathers do not have a wealth of programs aimed at them to pursue higher-level education. Single mothers, on the other hand, get more financial assistance from both state and federal governments to pursue college, as well as other money to security financial stability until they are hired full-time.
Perhaps the real question is how we change this dynamic? Maybe we should look at how to increase educational opportunities for single fathers as much as women.