Women majority of college students women

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Women make up about 51 percent of the U.S. population, but they comprise approximately 60 percent of CSUN’s student body, according to CSUN’s Institutional Research report on Fall 2004 enrollment.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, in 2001, women made up 56 percent of the student body in colleges nationwide.

About 58 percent of undergraduate students at CSUN are women. Women make up an even larger segment of students in graduate studies programs at CSUN, about 66 percent, according to the report.

But while the majority of CSUN students are women, certain majors are still dominated by certain genders. Especially in majors that have traditionally been male-dominated, a large majority of students are still men, according to the CSUN Factbook for 2001-02.

“You still find a higher percentage of men in physical science and engineering majors,” said Harold Hellenbrand, university provost. “A high percentage of women still end up teaching and in the service industries.”

Men still outnumber women in the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences by a ratio of 7 to 1, according to the Factbook.

“It goes back to the way boys and girls are raised by their parents, and how they’re prepared for high school,” Hellenbrand said.

Still, many of the colleges at CSUN have become primarily dominated by women. According to the Factbook, there are twice as many women as there are men in the College of Health and Human Development. In the College of Humanities, there are nearly three times as many women than men.

According to the Fall 2003 report from the National Center for Educational Statistics, about 3,000 more women than men applied to CSUN, leading to a greater percentage of women accepted and enrolled at the university.

Women are also graduating at a higher rate than men, according to the 1997 NCES report.

While 36.1 percent of women graduate within six years, only 26.7 percent of men graduate within the same time span. In addition, women received 62.2 percent of bachelor’s degrees awarded during the 2001-02 academic year, according to the Factbook.

There are a number of reasons there has been such growth in the number of women attending colleges and universities.

“A woman going to college is going to make as much as a male with a high school education,” said Jane Prather, sociology professor. “Boys are (also) losing interest in school during high school, when it is most important that they do well.”

Women also seem to be waiting longer to start families.

“I think now, because of a greater awareness of birth control and planned parenthood, women are delaying starting families,” said Cynthia Peralta, senior sociology major.

The need for two-income families and women’s having higher achievement objectives could be contributing factors as well, said Harvey Rich, sociology professor.

“The fact that it now takes two incomes to support a family is important,” Rich said. “It has more to do with changes in expectations among women because the rate of graduation (of women) from high school, as well as the rate of college attendance among women, has gone up faster than for men. The trend is true across the country.”