For the first time in history, there are more college-educated women in the workforce than college-educated men, according to the Pew Research Center. According to the data, it’s a combination of more women deciding to go to college and fewer men deciding to attend higher education institutions.
“It’s a crazy cycle,” Adrian Huerta, an assistant professor of education at the University of Southern California, told The Washington Post. “We know that when you have a college education, there are good outcomes with health. You’re more likely to live longer. It matters for employment stability and civic engagement. You’re less likely to rely on social services.”
Males tend to struggle more in elementary and high school as well, recent research has found. Girls in the U.S. tend to score higher than boys in reading by the fourth grade, and more boys than girls drop out of high school, leading to fewer men becoming college-educated.
Boys in rural areas might not be getting the support from teachers they need to go to college.
“You have some teachers and counselors in rural and urban environments discouraging young men from going on to higher education — ‘You’re not college material, you should just go work,’” Huerta told the Post.
But while women are only this year taking over the college-educated workforce, women have been a majority of college-educated adults for more than a decade, the Pew Research Center found. Women currently earn around 57% of bachelor’s degrees.
The Pew Research Center found that it has taken so long for the female workforce to catch up because of a lack of women in STEM careers. Women are only 25% of college-educated workers in computer occupations and 15% of college-educated workers in engineering occupations, but women are the majority in occupations like office and administrative support and health care practitioners and technicians, according to the Pew Research Center.