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Battle of the sexes

For the male students at BGSU, being outnumbered by the female students might be intimidating – but this unbalanced ratio also has several other consequences.

Since men typically study math and science and women usually study liberal arts, the math and science departments might begin to see declined enrollment in the near future.

But Gary Lee, chair of the sociology department, said this uneven ratio currently doesn’t have any importance to enrollment rates for specific colleges.

“There are certain patterns for males and females when it comes to choosing their majors,” he said. “The implications for the University are not that major and this is not a common topic that the University is interested in because it doesn’t really affect the University directly.”

Many universities across the United States have an unbalanced male to female ratio – BGSU is no different. However, this ratio is starting to even itself out.

During fall 2001 the undergraduate female population was 56.3 percent compared to the 43.7 percent male. By fall 2005 the unbalanced ratio began to even itself out with a lower percentage of females at 55.1 percent – more than 1 percent change.

The data, collected by the University’s Office of Institutional Research, has shown there has been a steady increase in the male population percentage over the past five years.

Robert Zhang, associate director for IR, said he doesn’t expect this trend to stop unless some type of intervention is put into place to balance out the ratio.

The information about the gender ratio is gathered every 15 days so that news outlets, researchers and University administrators can study the subject, Zhang said.

But Lee said University administrators are hardly interested in this information because the minimal affects on the University – but the affect of the results of the data does alter society.

“For a society as a whole it has been true for a long time that women tend to marry men who are educated and men tend to marry down,” Lee said. “This is not going to be possible for very long as more women are being educated.”

Since well educated women might have a harder time finding someone to marry and more women than ever are educating themselves, women will then start to marry less educated men.

“We will see women becoming the principal bread winners as a consequence of more women going into professional occupations,” Lee said.

In fact, IR data shows that a higher percentage of women are becoming professionals by going to graduate school. In fall 2005, 62.1 percent of graduate students are female compared to 37.9 percent male.

Lee said no one can really determine what the effects of this will bring but he does expect college enrollment for both men and women to decrease as states continue to cut funding for universities.

“With colleges getting more expensive and more females entering the professional world it is hard to predict what the future will bring,” he said.

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