In the past and even at present, people whine over the small number of women in particular sectors. This incites the unleashing of feminist movement and the inevitable threading on eggshells. Ironically, this growing ‘minority’ had befallen today’s university male students.
This crisis had been the central theme of UCAS chief executive, Mary Curnock Cook. Backed by recent research findings, Cook presented the following forecasts:
- With this university gender gap showing no signs of slowing, it “would continue to widen over the next decade.”
- The gap is estimated to characteristically become “more pronounced” at year 2025.
As a consequence, educational institutions might need to reconsider the status to which they look at the male’s declining number. A “coordinated outreach campaign” might also be set as a solution.
What the figures say
Pedalling a bit back, what were the figures that brought about these warning and forecasts?
GCSE level: 25% girls vs. 18% boys
These percentage represented the lead to which girls have over this summer’s GCSE level (exams rated A* or A).
Uni application: 30% men vs. 40% women
These figures showed the proportion of 18-year old university applicants.
Uni admission: 24.6% men vs. 32.5% women
These figures, which seemingly echoes from that of the previous figures, depicted the greater number of accepted women students.
The chorus among these figures is obvious: women are “a third more likely to gain entry to degree courses than men.”
Gap by course
While the figures are dismal for the male counterparts, this is not the case for all degree courses. One particular factor helps in determining the extent of the gap, as well as, its complete reversal. The factor is none other than the course itself.
The Guardian correspondent, Rebecca Ratcliffe, had pointed out these variations in accord to course types here:
- More males: Imperial College London, for example, – a science, engineering, medicine and business institution – is one of two institutions where men count for two thirds of the undergraduate intake.
- More females: Universities specialising in art and design courses are particularly dominated by females.
- Equilibrium: Generally speaking, the intake at many of the Russell Group universities is more evenly balanced…
So, where do these observations really bring the UCAS’ findings? Apart from the ever-prevailing bias against particular course degrees, culture could be seen as another camouflaging culprit (according to Higher Education Policy Institute director, Bahram Bekhradnia).
While educational institutions and authorities are yet to explain the reason behind the fall of university male students, the case for the female counterparts is less ambiguous.
Female students are observed to aggressively work on their uni qualifications. In particular, they are seen to have taken as much A-level subjects as they can possibly obtain. This, according to Centre for Education and Employment Research director Alan Smithers, makes female students a lot more qualified “on nearly three-quarters of university courses…”
Mary Curnock Cook’s warnings rang clear, as are her recommendations. However, in order for institutions and other stakeholders to act on this, the impacts of the male-minority group has to be taken upfront and be scrutinised.
What do you think are the impacts of a lesser male population in universities? In reverse, what could be the impacts of a female-dominated university?