Gender ratio fluctuation cause for concern

by Whitney Carter

It seems like the gender ratio at Whitworth has fluctuated each year. The ratio creates a variety of issues that seriously limit the kind of education we have access to at Whitworth for a variety of reasons. It is a national issue that should create a discourse about why young men are not going to college and the high school postgraduate career choices they are making instead.

A gender ratio imbalance is not a problem that is unique to our campus. The sing-song rhyme from our school days “girls go to college to get more knowledge” is ringing true in colleges across America. At Whitworth our ratio is about 60 percent female and 40 percent male, according to the Whitworth website.

While it is wonderful that more young women are attending college, we are losing a significant voice by having fewer men on campus.  The disproportionateness is reflected in the fact that Baldwin Jenkins Hall had only one hall of freshmen men this year and Boppell Hall will be making the switch to an all-female hall next year.

The discussion that we should be having is that in the push to get more young women into college, have we neglected the young men? I believe that the answer is yes, and as a result, the women are missing out on a piece of their education. The men are missing out on vital university education as well.

It is not the fault of women that more females are going to college than males. In fact, these numbers should start a conversation. We should discover why more men are not going to college. We need to look at where they are going instead. One explanation could be that there are harder and heavy labor intensive jobs that are open to young men, which could pay relatively well, particularly compared to minimum wage positions that would be open to young women.

College degrees are becoming more integral in the workplace. If young men are looking to places other than universities for advancement, will this lead to a problem down the road with men lacking the education and skills to join the workplace? Have we pushed too far in getting women into college?

There has been a big push nationally to get underrepresented groups into colleges, which applies to Whitworth, and women count as an underrepresented group within universities and the workplace. We have been left with a push too far to one side. Men are becoming less represented. We need to acknowledge that this leaves us with a gap being underrepresented.

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