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Gender Dynamics in College Education

The period starting the year 1981 has seen women clearly earn most of the baccalaureate degrees in America. In fact, as of 2003, the enrolment ratios for higher education stood at 1.3 female students for every one male student and in the 2012/2013 female students accounted for 57 percent of the overall college enrolments in the United States. In this paper, I discuss the gender dynamics of representation in our college education and changes that are ongoing. A number of reasons explain the differences in gender representation in education, especially at the college level. The period after the Second World War saw changes in American policies that encouraged massive access to a college education which in turn influence a major shift in terms of gender dynamics. In the beginning, the G.I bill greatly increased educational opportunities for the male student leading to an inevitable situation of male domination in the American higher educational space. The trend was to be reversed later by federal legislation and financial aid which opened opportunities for the greater participation of females in college with the ultimate effect of eliminating the gender gap that existed in favor of men. This alongside many other developments has conspired to only reverse gender inequalities in the curriculum that hitherto adversely affected the participation of women but have given birth to another trend in which females are now seen to dominate. Before the middle of the 20th century, the educational policies in the United States were very limited in terms of supporting individuals who needed to further their education past the secondary school level. This made higher education to remain a privilege that was mostly pursued by the elite up to the year 1940. Things change in 1944 following the. I Bill which assisted over two million individuals returning home from the Second World War join college for further education or follow vocational training.