Lately I've been seeing a lot of studies showing that women are beating out men nowadays in the academic world. Women are attending college in higher numbers than men. In high school exit exams across the nation, girls are outperforming boys almost uniformly.
I want to explore something else that you might not have thought of, though, because if women are now outnumbering men in academic settings, then why has the glass ceiling not yet been shattered? Hell, why is there not now a glass ceiling in place for MEN below WOMEN?
Unfortunately, this has a lot to do with the KIND of things each gender is going to school for (or for those who don't go to college, which professions each gender ends up holding ultimately), and a lot less to do with who's actually going to school.
A 1994 study published in economic journal Contemporary Economic Policy was arguably one of the first studies of its kind on this issue: the study examined major choice as a function of wages. It turns out that women predominately major in tings that will bring them more pleasure in life but that are usually less profitable: education, fine arts and the social sciences tend to be areas laden with lots of female alums. On the other hand, as far as men are concerned, we tend to gravitate toward majors that will enable us to make more money and have a better living in the future: business majors and hard sciences are two shining examples.
So to what can we attribute this division? The old adage that women are right-brained and men left (or is that the other way around? haha) really isn't true, because everyday there are increases in the number of women found in high-profile business and science sector jobs.
I would say my only reasonable conjecture is to go back to the Parsons argument: the expressive (women) versus the instrumental (men). It seems to me that women tend more to use college as a tool for better themselves and for learning more in general. Men, who are classically instrumental, see college as just that, an instrument for them to use to go on to better employment, to in turn provide for themselves and their families.
Anyway, that's enough dime-store psychology for today.