Sunday, September 20, 2009

Becoming a Matriarchate

There are more than 900 women’s/gender/feminist undergraduate and graduate studies programs, departments, and research centers around the world. Over half are in the United States, up from a mere two in 1970.

During this period, higher education has been transformed from a disproportionately male-oriented to a female-driven program. In 1970, 4.25 million males participated in undergraduate enrollment in degree-granting, post-secondary institutions compared with 3.12 million females, a ratio of 1.36 to 1. By 1980, female undergraduate enrollment surpassed that of males. In 2007, the latest year for which exact figures are available, females represented 56.9 percent of undergraduate enrollees. The projection for 2018 is that females will increase to 58.6 percent.

The Council of Graduate Schools has released its data for 2008. Females constituted 58.9 percent of all graduate enrollment, a ratio of 1.43 to men. They remain a minority in business (45.7 percent), engineering (22.0 percent), and the physical sciences (33.2 percent). They are the majority, vastly so in some instances, in arts and humanities, biological and agricultural sciences, education, health sciences, public administration, social and behavioral sciences, and the remaining other fields lumped together.

These trends parallel the growth of the service sector and relative decline of manufacturing in the United States.

Women also control about half the wealth in the United States. This share is likely to rise as women’s earnings increasingly reflect their higher education. Women are presidents of Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Penn, and other leading universities. For want of a few caucus states, America would have its first female president.

The American patriarchy has been and remains in decline. Those who want an advance look at the developing American matriarchate may want to spent some time in Scandinavia.

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