The Number of Male Students is Decreasing in Academia

Recent numbers from the Swedish statistical board describe that the number of people who continue studying after high school in Sweden are: 

* 50% of the girls study after high school

* 38% of the men study after high school

There are also shortcomings in gender equality in terms of throughput and academic performance. Women generally have better throughput than men in education both at the undergraduate and advanced levels – and this contributes to the education level being higher for women (measured as the proportion of the population with a degree from a university).

This is also true for Uppsala university, and on an overarching level looking at the whole university, there were more women than men who studied at undergraduate and advanced level education, and the distribution between men and women was within the gender equality interval (40–60 per cent). However, if you look into the details you see that the gender distribution was on the border or outside the gender equality interval in the three subareas humanities, social sciences and Science and technology. There was a majority of women in the humanities and social sciences and a large majority of women in medicine and pharmacy. The field of science and technology, in turn, had more men than women.

I have read up some on the existing research in this area, and there are some things that are pointed out as possible reasons for this inequality:

– Boys and young men’s education results are 10% lower than girls’ and young women’s

– Young men are more often satisfied with a passing grade and prioritize hobbies and friends

– Gender researchers believe that it has its basis in notions of masculinity and that perceptions about how young men should be are an obstacle for them.

 Another thing that affects, as I see it, is the norm of the male genius who is bron with the knowledge and skills needed and who does not have to study hard. 

If you are more interested in this area and read Swedish I recommend reading Ann-Sofie Nyströms PhD thesis pid=diva2%3A466041&dswid=-2987

Another interesting read is this report from UKÄ: Kvinnor och män i högskolan, UKÄ rapport 2016:16

This blog post is based on a presentation that I did for the university board about men and academic studies.