Uni women outnumber men 60:40

Photo: ODT
Photo: ODT
A gender studies specialist says the 60:40 split of female and male domestic students attending the University of Otago last year is part of a trend across most Western countries — though it might be slightly higher at Otago than at other universities due to the emphasis on health sciences.

Gender disparities were "subject-specific" and last year there was a slightly larger difference at Otago than usual, probably because of the role of health sciences at the university, Fairleigh Gilmour said.

Generally, men tended to outnumber women in engineering and IT, while women tended to dominate in health-related disciplines.

Statistics seemed similar at most other universities around the country — at the Victoria University of Wellington, 2017 total student figures showed a split of 55% to 45%, while at the Auckland University of Technology there was a 61% to 39% split among domestic students.

At the University of Auckland, 57% of all students were women, and at Massey there was a 60% female majority. At Lincoln University in 2017, men comprised 51% of all students and women made up 49%, while at the University of Waikato 58% of all students were women and  42% were men.

In 2016, the University of Canterbury hit the headlines when the proportion of female students dropped below 50%.

Statistics from previous years — which include international as well as domestic students — show the balance at the University of Otago was usually about 57% to 43% in favour of women.

"It is important to keep in mind that if we consider university attendance as an economically rational decision, then it makes more sense for women to attend university.

"The wage gap between women with degrees and women without is larger than that for men," Dr Gilmour said.

elena.mcphee@odt.co.nz 

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