Monday, April 30, 2012

Gender Gap in Higher Education in Utah: Women on Bottom

Writing in today's Salt Lake Tribune, Brian Maffly reports that for years now, women in Utah have not entered or completed college at the same rate as have men.  In 2008, 26 percent of Utah women had a bachelor’s degree, while 32 percent of Utah men did, according to a 2009 Utah Foundation study.  Women constitute 55 percent  of undergraduates nationally, but 45 percent in Utah.

What accounts for the higher education gender disparity in Utah?  Maffly and those he interviews suggest that cultural factors are largely responsible.  On average, Utahns marry young, and when children come along, the wife more commonly abandons her educational aspirations to care for children than her husband does.  And as Maffly also reports, studies suggest that many Utahns don't think a college education is important for women, and if women do choose to go to college, they should consider college as a path to marriage instead of a college degree.

Food for thought, as the nation vets Mr. Romney, with his strong Utah connections, for the White House--or so it seems to me.

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