Will more female college students change the economic landscape?

  No matter where we walk on a college campus these days, we see a stark gender imbalance. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, an organization that accredits college degrees, the ratio of male to female students in the United States is about 2:3.
  This is the result of a decades-long increase in the number of female students. In the past few decades, women have not only closed the gap in educational attainment between men and women in the past, but have also surpassed men in the proportion of going to college. And the growth in female students doesn’t seem to be slowing down: the latest enrolment figures for spring 2021 show a widening gap between male and female enrolments.
  Younger generations of men and women are likely to follow entirely different trajectories as they begin their adult lives. This difference can have an impact on their later lives, leading them to make love decisions that differ from previous generations, choose different family forms and career paths, and ultimately fundamentally alter the economic landscape. The growing gap between men and women in higher education could be one of the most transformative trends today.
  The disparity in the number of male and female students in college is one of the trends that has slowly formed over the past few decades. Today, more women are pursuing higher education than ever before. But the percentage of men going to college has stagnated, leaving experts puzzled. The gap between men and women in graduation rates is even wider, with male undergraduates completing their studies at a lower rate.
  While the proportion of contemporary young men attending college has not declined, they are not spending more on higher education than previous generations. This goes against the common historical pattern that each generation receives more education than previous generations. Even more puzzling is that the career and financial benefits of a college degree are now growing dramatically, and most women have responded to this market signal, but men have not.
  These long-term trends are not unique to the United States. In all 38 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), women aged 25 to 34 are more likely than men to hold a higher education degree.
  Since 1979, there have been more women than men in universities, and the number of women continues to grow. In addition, the latest figures show that more men than women are dropping out of college due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  Women are more likely to study reputable programs such as medicine and law, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees. Although men still make up the majority of business schools, the number of women is gradually increasing. Women already dominate organizations that typically develop industry and political leaders, although some of the highest-paid fields such as business, computer science and engineering are still dominated by men.
  Yet women have so far not fully reaped the rewards of improved education, and their earnings still lag behind men. On the one hand, the reason is the hindrance of other factors such as discrimination, and on the other hand, it also reflects the choices women make to cope with the greater family burden.
  While younger women earn more degrees than men, the overall workforce, including older people, is about the same level of education. With the increasing proportion of women in the educated workforce, the structure of high-paying jobs will also be slowly adjusted to better suit the needs of women.
  The key to predicting how all this will play out in the future is to ask these highly educated women who they would marry and what role marriage would play in their lives if they did. This issue is also important for the country’s economic development, as work and family life are closely linked.
  In the 1950s, the era of the hit soap opera “I Love Lucy,” marriage was often a transaction, with the husband providing the wife with a steady income and the wife running the household, providing meals, caring for the children and cleaning Room.
  This division of labor reflected the prevailing social norms at the time. Women have few economic opportunities and have to give birth and care for children. However, this is also a response to the economic structure of the time, just as different employees in the company are responsible for different jobs, the husband and wife also assume different family duties.
  Economic forces shape not only the role we play in a relationship, but also the choices we make about our partners. In previous eras of traditional marriage, men and women specialised in different fields, each playing different roles that required different skills. College-educated women are unpopular in this type of marriage market, so they often fail to get married, while college-educated men marry at a high rate.
  With the progress of the times, the traditional marriage model has gradually disintegrated, and marriage has become more equal. Increased equality in the labor market promotes equality in marriage, which in turn promotes equality in the labor market.
  Husbands and wives are now “in the master” together, but the amount of housework they each undertake is still different. Meanwhile, couples no longer have to do some of the household chores, thanks to cleaning services, cheap clothing imported from abroad and prepared meals from the grocery chain Trader Joe’s.
  More women than men have college degrees, so many highly educated women are either forced to associate with less educated men or to abandon their marriages. Now that work and family coexist, it is more difficult for us to choose between work and family, which further leads to a lower birth rate. Young people in their twenties are now putting off getting married, planning to get married after a successful career.
  In the past, wives took on more family burdens than husbands. Today, family relationships are slowly changing. There is always someone who has to give up something for the family. In the past, it may have been the wife who gave up her career, but if the wife earns more than her husband, the one who gives up her career may become her husband in the future.