If women were fleeing the nation’s universities and colleges, we would have a national uproar, but men are now fleeing in large numbers and society barely notices. Numbers tell the story. Men have been falling behind women for decades. By 2009 National Center for Education statistics for degree-granting institutions listed 11.658 million women enrolled and 8.769 million men. Many predict that women will soon account for 60 percent of our college grads. Public colleges like North Carolina at Chapel Hill and private ones like NYU have almost reached the 60 percent mark already. The University of Vermont in Burlington has so many women that the women jokingly call their college town Girlington. Diane Ravitch, the noted historian of education and a former assistant secretary of education asks: When will it be fair? When women are 60 percent or 75 percent of college enrollments? Perhaps it will be fair when there are no men at all.”
Among minorities, the male-female balance is even more skewed. When economist Andrew Sum and his colleagues at the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University looked at gender disparities in the Boston Public Schools, they found that for the class of 2008, among blacks there were 188 females for every 100 males attending a four-year college or university. Among Hispanics the ratio was 233 female for every 100 males. The facts are incontrovertible: young women from low-income neighborhoods in Boston, Los Angeles or Washington, D.C., do much better than the young men from those same neighborhoods. There are now dozens of studies with titles like “The Vanishing Latino Male in Higher Education” and “African-American Males in Education: Endangered or Ignored?”
Males Fading Away
So where are all the men? Media accounts are short on insight and often just insult males, calling them lazy and dumb. Maybe we would be better off if the media and elites weren’t so openly pleased that women are outpacing men in college. The college strike didn’t happen overnight. It started years ago when the war against boys began after the feminist era. Initially, feminism was presented as being about equal rights between the sexes. Now it is often about revenge and special privileges for women and girls. Christina Hoff Sommers, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of The War Against Boys, argues that feminists and their sycophants have worked hard to turn the educational system into one that favors girls at the expense of boys. Boys are now seen as “defective girls” in need of a major overhaul. Sommers says, “Gender experts at Harvard, Wellesley, and Tufts, and in the major women’s organizations, believe that boys and men in our society will remain sexist (and potentially dangerous) unless socialized away from conventional maleness. . . . The belief that boys are being wrongly ‘masculinized’ is inspiring a movement to ‘construct boyhood’ in ways that will render boys less competitive, more emotionally expressive, more nurturing–more, in short, like girls.”
Girls Have an Advantage
Boys are more at risk than girls in the U.S. educational system. A MetLife study stated, “Girls appear to have an advantage over boys in terms of their future plans, teacher’s expectations, everyday experiences at school and interactions in the classroom.” Boys are less engaged in school, and less engagement means less success in the classroom; in fact, engagement with school is probably the single most important factor of academic success. Boys are more likely than girls to come to school without supplies and without doing their homework. Why aren’t boys more engaged in school? According to Sommers, “schools today tend to be run by women for girls. Classrooms can be hostile environments for boys. They like action, competition and adventure stories. Those are not in favor. Games like tag and dodgeball are out; tug of war has become tug of peace, and male heroes have been replaced by Girl Power.” Boys receive lower marks from female teachers, according to research done for the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance.