Growing gender gap boosts women’s desire for a ‘mate’

By Meredith Amos U-Wire

WACO, Texas – Home alone Saturday night with a tub of Blue Bell and season five of “Friends”? No need to wallow in self-pity. Three out of every 25 girls have to be dateless at Baylor University. With a current 12 percent gender gap between the sexes, Baylor’s campus is part of a national trend toward an unbalanced male-to-female ratio.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the gender breakdown of colleges that receive federal student aid in 2003-04 was 57.4 percent women and 42.6 percent men, compared to Baylor’s current 56.4 percent women and 43.6 percent men in fall 2005.

“Nationally, more women do go to college than men,” said James Steen, associate vice president of admission and enrollment services. “Women are usually more organized and goal-oriented. They are earlier to apply and pay their deposits.”

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, female enrollment increased from 42 percent in 1970 to 56 percent in 2001. Additionally, women have met and surpassed men in degree attainment over the past three decades.

Some point to differences in the way women learn and the current educational methodology geared toward this feminine way of thinking as a possible reason for the growing gap.

“Women are naturally more in tune with their senses and have a more holistic learning style,” said Dr. Elizabeth Palacious, educational psychology lecturer. “We’re good at pulling subject matter together and doing a lot of things at once without missing a beat.”

Even though there are obvious differences in the way male and female brains are wired, Palacious said, it’s hard to generalize the way these differences are manifested in the classroom.

“Men have a tendency to be more compartmentalized and concrete in the way that they think,” Palacious said. “They’re experiential; they want the bottom line.”

This contrast in thought pattern can lead to difficulties in the classroom at a young age said Dae Vasek, academic adviser at the Office of Access and Learning Accommodation. OALA has about 424 men registered and 369 women.

Perhaps more on the minds of students are the social implications of the gap, rather than the educational. The differences in the way men and women operate in relationships is only intensified by Baylor’s 12 percent gap.

“A lot of college women are starting to look for Mr. Right, for a man that fits their criteria for a relationship,” Palacious said. “Many women at this time in their lives are psychologically ready for that kind of commitment.”

Many college men, however, are like “kids in a candy store,” Palacious said, and the two genders generally have different goals at this point in their lives.

“Many women are too focused on finding a mate,” Brenham, Texas, junior Eva Studer said.

“They need to put more thought into being an established woman than finding a boyfriend,” Studer said.

Bloomington, Ind., senior Jacquie Scott said the unbalanced ratio pushes the idea that women need to attach themselves to a man.

“As a community leader, I always heard my girls complaining about all the good ones being taken,” Scott said.