I was recently flipping through MacLean’s infamous magazine that annually ranks Canadian universities. In truth, I don’t think this has a lot of meaning outside of academic circles, but there was one recurring fact that surprised one–way more young women attend university than young men.
Now, I was aware that this was a trend, but I wasn’t aware of how dramatic the gender gap has become. Check out the stats from a sampling of universities (male-to-female):
Guelph: 37 to 63
Brock: 39 to 61
Dalhousie: 43 to 57
McGill: 40 to 60
Ottawa: 41 to 59
The most recent national stats I could find were from the 1999-2000 school year. Nationally, 102,790 women entered university while only 72,765 men did. That’s a ratio of 58.5 to 41.5, and I suspect the ensuing four years have only increased that gap.
This gives hope to the feminist in me. Clearly, if we’re training a majority of women, they’re likelier to become tomorrow’s leaders. At the same time, I wonder why, increasingly, young men aren’t going to university? Are the girls just working harder than the boys? Is there a gender bias in high school? In light of 500 years of academic gender disparity, should this be a cause for concern at all?
I’m certainly not advocating for some kind of affirmative action to get more men into university. Currently, female academics interested in becoming professors benefit from these kind of equality policies. How long will it be before those policies work against female scholars instead of for them? Not long, from the looks of the numbers.