Women in Education: In the U.S. and Internationally

This infographic from Online Schools Center summarizes the importance of educating women and why this matters, highlighting the plight of women’s education in developing countries. As the infographic points out, “with more women than men enrolled in U.S. colleges, Americans might assume the education of girls and women isn’t an issue.” As you read on, you’ll see why of course this is an issue, not just internationally, but right here in the United States, as well. For instance, this blog is part the Women’s Center at the University of Minnesota, where we are often asked questions about who we are, what we do, and if the work we do regarding women’s and gender equity is necessary. (Continued below)

Why female education matters

To that end, we created a document entitled Why Do We Still Need Women’s Centers?. When it comes to women in higher education in the United States, for example:

  • Women now make up the majority of college students, but still lag behind men in earning doctoral and professional degrees. Source
  • There are fewer women in math and science (receiving, for example, only 18% of undergraduate engineering degrees and 12% of doctoral engineering degrees), due in large part to the hostile environment many face in these fields. Source
  • In many departments, women still feel that the university climate is not supportive of their success i.e. they get less attention, feedback and encouragement from teachers than male students get, and at times face outright incivility in their classes. A study found that women applying for a research grant needed to be 2.5 times more productive than men in order to be considered equally competent. Source
  • Schools are eliminating affirmative action programs responsible for increasing access to higher education for women, particularly women of color. Source

While we gratefully acknowledge the progress that’s been made for women in many arenas, we also recognize the work that is yet to be done in many areas, from education to athletics, STEM, professors and administrators, women’s leadership, sexual assault and sexual harassment, earnings, and politics. This list, and the infographic above, remind us that we are not there yet, and inspire us to keep pushing forward.

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” – Arundhati Roy


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