OK, Can We Declare Victory in the Whole "Failing at Fairness" Thing?

Via Mark Perry

From yesterday's Census report on educational attainment, the chart above shows the college degree gap in favor of women for all levels of higher education for age group between 25-29.  More than 60% of advanced degrees are now held by women for that age group, up by more than three percentage points from the 58.2% reported by Census for 2009.  For African-Americans ages 25-29,  there are 239 women holding advanced degrees for every 100 men with graduate degrees (70.5% female vs. 29.5% male).

See his original for a good chart.

By the way, the answer to the question in the title is probably "no."  Advocacy groups never go away -- they just seek new problems.  Too much money to be gained in achieving victim status.

  • Reformed Republican

    The important question is, what is the distribution of meaningful degrees (science, engineering, etc.) vs. useless degrees such as education, women's studies, etc.

  • caseyboy

    Reformed Republican, very insightful question. That would be interesting since it would affect the other gender gap issue, wages.

  • Roy

    Yes, caseyboy. It also addresses some other very interesting questions. Eg, what makes a degree valuable? Do genders have differing, gender-specific motivations for degree choices? What are the trade-offs for each gender regarding a degree in a specified field? How do biological realities influence those trade-offs?

    All such questions will, of course, not receive attention much less answer. Exactly the reasons summarized in Warren's last paragraph will forbid any other response.

  • Ignoramus

    After Obama did his recent Facebook town hall, they had Valerie Jarrett host a View-like all-women's shindig on why girls don't do good in math and science. They attributed it to a lack of role models, as a set-up to call for increased quotas of women professors in these fields.

    As evidence that women were the targets of bias, it was noted that when women dropped out of science and engineering majors, their grades went up significantly.

  • George Edwards

    This is coming from the U.S. Census Bureau. From personal experience I think you have to be very cautious with their statistics. My recent contacts with them suggest their sampling methodology and questionnaire protocols may (must) lead to flawed data and thus to inaccurate conclusions. Decisions based on their statistics are likely to be faulty.

    Caveat emptor.

    I earned an opinion on this subject by spending a portion of my professional career in the field of sampling, and in publishing a book on the subject.

  • Bob Smith

    They attributed it to a lack of role models

    Can you imagine Christopher Columbus complaining that he can't leave port because he has no role models? Women should stop complaining about success not being handed to them on a silver platter.

    As evidence that women were the targets of bias, it was noted that when women dropped out of science and engineering majors, their grades went up significantly.

    Everybody knows that science and engineering is no harder than English lit, and calculus is just as easy to learn as "social studies".

  • Dr. T

    Reformed Republican said: "The important question is, what is the distribution of meaningful degrees (science, engineering, etc.) vs. useless degrees such as education, women’s studies, etc."

    The importance of the question is debatable. The answer is that men still get more bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees than women in chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, and computer sciences. Men get more MBAs, law degrees, and medical degrees than women, but those gaps are closing fast.

    *** RANT ALERT ***

    The important issue to me is that public schools have actively discriminated against boys for decades. On average, boys today are further behind their grade-level standards than forty years ago. This is mostly due to instructional changes that require children to sit quietly for hours on end. Girls typically are better able to tolerate this than boys. Boys tend to get fidgety, or they tune-out the teacher after sitting too long. When the schoolkids finally get a break, they aren't allowed to be active. They walk down hallways in line without talking. Recess activities are restrictive: no running, no tag, no roughhousing, no jungle gyms or monkey bars. In class, teachers rarely use the learning methods proven to be more successful with boys: hands-on demonstrations, kinetic learning (using body motions instead of words to teach concepts), and teaching with three-dimensional objects rather than descriptions. It is hardly surprising that girls now surpass boys in all subjects, even math and science.

    I predict that within twenty years women will attain most of every type of college degree in every major, but the average skills and knowledge levels of the degree holders will be far lower than it is today (which is far lower than it was forty years ago). I also predict that almost all the top scientists, mathematicians, and engineers will still be men.

  • Ted Rado

    One of our problems is that many young people study subjects that result in an economically useless degree. One friend of mine told his kids to take at least 18 hours of accounting, so they could at least get a worthwhile job when they graduated.

    Another friend's son studied fine art. he got a $5/hr job designing western belt buckles for a brass foundry. He went back to college to study architecture.

    Bottom line: We are doing a horrible job advising our kids on career possibilities. Most waste four years and much money on useless studies, to their eternal sorrow. We have failed them.

    One way out is to push the idea that a gender studies major should be paid the same as an engineer. Engineers are paid more because the studies are much more difficult and hence fewer people are willing or able to do the work.

    We have screwed up everything else. Why not education as well?

  • JimS

    Dr. T, check your stats. Women have surpassed men in medical degrees.

  • Vilmos

    Unrelated to this post but is very related to your high speed train complaints (looks like the Chinese also have, ahem, cost overruns)

    China's High-Speed Trains Coming Off the Rails

    http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/04/28/021229/Chinas-High-Speed-Trains-Coming-Off-the-Rails

    Vilmos

  • IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society

    By the way, the answer to the question in the title is probably “no.” Advocacy groups never go away — they just seek new problems. Too much money to be gained in achieving victim status.

    Human Organizations should automatically disband after achieving their goal.

    They should make it an unalterable part of their organizational by-laws that the goal of the organization is 'x', defined by the simultaneously existing conditions 'a','b', and 'c', after which point the organization will disband within 90 days, all remaining monies and assets to be donated to selected charities in quantities not to exceed 5% per charity (preventing the officers from just "creating" a new organization without the "shop close" rule). Any officer who seriously and publicly (as in "among other co-workers") proposes altering or attempting to alter these rules should be summarily fired without pause or pension.

    There. A nice, concise description of something everyone should aim to fit into the bylaws of any charitable or other "beggar" organization they set up or help fund or initiate.

  • IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society

    > We have screwed up everything else. Why not education as well?

    What part of modern edumacacion do you think is functioning properly, Ted??

  • IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society

    >>>> The important question is, what is the distribution of meaningful degrees (science, engineering, etc.) vs. useless degrees such as education, women’s studies, etc.

    > Reformed Republican, very insightful question. That would be interesting since it would affect the other gender gap issue, wages.

    Not a particularly NEW question.

    I suggest the obvious book in this case would be:

    Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap -- and What Women Can Do About It

  • bob

    When I was actively teaching engineering, I strongly supported all the X-studies degrees plus things like journalism/communication, social work, etc. These programs siphoned the wack-jobs out of my classes and made my life and the lives of the real students much easier.

  • Reformed Republican

    Maybe I should have said obvious question instead of important.

    Dr. T, check your stats. Women have surpassed men in medical degrees.

    Is this true for MDs only, or does this include various nursing degrees?

  • Bertha Minerva

    Re. Dr T and Reformed Republican's qs on medical degrees - here is an interesting angle I've read about elsewhere: if you look at math/verbal SAT scores, smart men may be smart in any of 3 ways - they do well on math but not verbal, OR they do well on verbal but not math, OR they do well on both together.

    Smart women OTOH only tend to be smart in two ways: they do well on verbal but not math, or they do well on both verbal AND math. It is relatively rare for a woman to be strong in math without also being strong in verbal.

    In terms just of earning potential, people who are strong in math only tend to have the best career prospects in engineering and the hard sciences.

    People who are strong in verbal only tend to have the best career prospects in something like law or journlism.

    People who are strong in both tend to have the best earning prospects in medicine or business.

    If this is true, then it is logical that smart women with math/science ability are going into medicine in droves, and it also helps explain why men are still (appropriately) dominant in fields like engineering and science.

    Looked at this way it does not seem like a crisis at all - but as Coyote says, there's a lot of money in grievances so we can't expect people to just take more women in medicine as good thing for women and shut up about the rest of it.

  • Dr. T

    JimS said: "Dr. T, check your stats. Women have surpassed men in medical degrees."

    I did check my stats. There was only one year (2004) when medical schools accepted more women than men. Only the graduating class of 2008 had more women MDs. From 2005-2010, more men than women were accepted by medical schools in the USA.