Friday, August 30, 2019

That pesky male female gap

The Pew Research Center found that 2019 will be the first year in which women will comprise the majority of the college-educated labor force in the United States. Women first received more than half of the bachelor’s degrees awarded in the 1981-82 academic year—almost 40 years ago.  Today they earn about 57% of bachelor’s degrees. The number of college-educated women in the adult population (ages 25 and older) surpassed the number of college-educated men in 2007. Does anyone fret about that imbalance created by loans, scholarships, affirmative action and unfair regulations?

So why are we still hearing about the “gap,” especially since for about 4 decades the college enrollment rate for females has exceeded males and for the younger demographic there is no gap given the same starting place and position? 

There’s a lot of mischief in gap statistics.  Especially college degrees.  Women, even in the same fields as men, may select different specialties—pediatrics instead of neuroscience, family law instead of corporate law, bibliographer instead of library director, or they may want to be an artist instead of a plumber or electrician. Women may decide to raise their own children and “stop-out” for 5-10 years, reentering the labor market with reduced value to employers.  Married women with husbands of equal education and financial status often have the luxury to leave the medical or law fields to start a business in a completely different direction such as interior design or selling craft items. 

Unfortunately, these “justice” studies rarely compare women with women—female doctors with female pre-school directors, or female TV hosts with female owners of bed and breakfasts, or female chefs with female dishwashers, female traffic court judges with female circuit court judges. Why not compare single women who are heads of household with married women who have no children?  In the universe of women employees there are gaps with men, but there are overlaps also, with low end of the bell curve  the men who clean the offices of  wealthy women politicians like Pelosi and Warren who are sitting at the high end of the bell curve.

What is concerning to me is that college educated women increasingly vote for Democrats, seeing themselves still as needing additional help from the government to manage their lives.

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