Notre Dame seeks to balance out the genders

By Rohan Anand MCT

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – While Notre Dame began accepting women in 1972, 34 years has not been quite enough to balance out the male-to-female ratio — currently a lopsided 53 percent men to 47 percent women.

“It is what it is and hopefully, once we review our numbers at the end of this year, we can go deeper into finding a solution,” Arts and Letters Associate Director Ava Preacher said.

Though the Admissions Office — which has been “gender blind” since 1997 — is working hard to maintain a solid equilibrium in each admitted class, the gender imbalance becomes more clear when students separate among the five undergraduate colleges their sophomore year, Assistant Provost for Admissions Dan Saracino said.

The College of Science boasts more women than men, with a ratio of 52 percent to 48 percent. The College of Architecture is nearly even with 51 percent men and 49 percent women. The College of Business, however, maintains a roughly 1-to-3 ratio of women to men, with 38 percent women and 62 percent men, Saracino said.

Divisions in the remaining two colleges, Arts and Letters and Engineering, were not as close. Females leapfrog men in Arts and Letters, with a ratio of 75 percent to 25 percent. Conversely, the College of Engineering has 73 percent men and only 27 percent women, Saracino said.

Despite the breakdowns, Saracino said intended majors indicated by prospective students on their applications have no bearing on their chances of being admitted.

“Quite candidly, intended major plays no role in admissions decisions,” he said. “That being said, we also do not look at one’s ‘intended major’ on his or her application – knowing full well that students will change their minds about their academic intents quite often — when arriving at our decisions.”

Many students, particularly those pursuing double or supplementary majors between two colleges, said the gender gaps are becoming increasingly noticeable.

“There’s definitely a big discrepancy,” said senior Terin Barbas, who is pursuing a major in marketing and a supplementary major in gender studies. “From my experience, business fields such as finance and accounting is male-dominated, marketing is split 50-50, and gender studies is female-dominated.”

Those splits, Barbas said, may be due to perceived psychological differences between the sexes. She believes her marketing major allows her the best of both worlds.

“More men have a tendency to go to business and science because it requires more thought processes, and women opt for Arts and Letters because they are more analytical,” Barbas said. “I think marketing is more creative and leans towards the liberal arts, thereby drawing more women to it.”