More women graduate from CSU system than men

Stefanie De Leon Tzic

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More women graduated from the California State University system than men during the 2010-11 academic year, a Fall 2011 CSU statistical report stated. There were also 14 percent more women than men enrolled, according to the report.

Despite women only being enrolled at a rate 14 percent higher than men, they are attaining degrees at a rate of 22 percent, as reported by Institutional Research. Women have also surpassed men in their master’s for the 2009-10 academic year by 23.2 percent.

For the last five years CSUN has steadily held a larger female population, with incoming freshmen being mostly women, according to CSUN’s Institutional Research.

It’s more complex than just pitting women against men, said Dr. Marta Lopez-Garza, professor of gender and women’s studies and Chicana/o studies.

“It’s important to break it down,” Lopez-Garza said. “You can’t just look at gender, you have to look at race, and I think it’s men of color that are somehow not getting through the pipeline.”

According to the 2006 California Postsecondary Education Commission, both UCs and CSUs have long been awarding more bachelor’s degrees to African American, Hispanic, White and Asia/Pacific Islander women than men.

The report indicates that up until 1981, men of these specific ethnic groups were awarded more degrees in both systems. Over the years, more women from the different ethnic groups began to slowly surpass them. By 2004, it was definite that women from all ethnic groups were graduating at a higher rate than men.

Now, six-out-of-10 CSU graduates last spring were female, according to a recent CSU Facebook post. The post also stated 20 out of the 23 campuses in the system are majority women.

“Looking at it in a cultural perspective, it seems to me that Latinas are breaking out of the cultural norm,” said Brenda Morales, 25, a CSUN alumna who received her degree in sociology. “Women have the freedom to pursue an education because they are no longer the primary person taking care of the household.”

A recent sampling of eight campuses, conducted by the CSU, ranks Cal State Stanislaus first in female enrollment, followed by Cal State Dominguez Hills and Cal State Bakersfield. CSUN ranks No. 14 with 57 percent.

As a result of this trend, Cal State East Bay, which is 60 percent female, hosted The Gates Millennium Scholars Male Initiative Bridge Builders Forum on Nov. 19, 2011 to prevent high school minority males from dropping out and motivate them to continue their education, according to a campus news release.

“We just hope forums like the one we had will help bring in more male enrollment,” said Barry Zepel, media relations officer from CSU East Bay. “That doesn’t mean that we’re anti-female enrollment, we want everyone to apply.”

The conference invited the eighth through 12th grade male students and their families to participate in workshops and breakout sessions to promote college awareness.

“It’s very possible that (this trend) will continue unless people in power change the way things are done,” Lopez-Garza said regarding the current graduating rates. “If people would stop profiling by race, that would help. If more money is given to education than prisons, that would help too.”