Women Continue to Outnumber Men in College Completion

There’s a serious gender gap in higher education. And according to new findings from Pew Research Center, this gap only continues to widen. Women increasingly outpace men in college graduation and enrollment rates. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, women accounted for nearly 60% of all college students by the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.

Women’s rise in education can be easily explained by the passage of Title IX in 1972, the promotion of gender equality in education since then, and gains made in labor force participation over the last few decades. However, the reasons behind the dwindling number of men in education aren’t as clear.

According to the Wall Street Journal, men are dropping out of school at extremely high rates and have accounted for 71% of the enrollment decline at colleges and universities over the last five years. The continuation of this trend could have lasting impacts on the future workforce, as educational attainment directly correlates to employment outcomes.

Despite the noteworthy rise in women in education over the last 40 years, the gender wage gap persists. Women are still significantly underrepresented in high-paying jobs and executive-level positions.

How Many Men and Women Have Bachelor’s Degrees?

Of the more than 2 million bachelor’s degrees conferred by U.S. postsecondary institutions during the 2018-2019 academic year, 57% were awarded to women.