So, the other day I went to a dinner for French Majors, and one of my friends brought up what I thought was an interesting comment. She asked whether it was odd that there were barely any men in all the French classes she’d taken. The three visiting professors, all from very prestigious colleges around the area, looked at each other and then at all the majors who had joined them for dinner. Of about 15 majors in total, two of them were men. The visiting professors then said it was completely normal.
That got me wondering: are majors ‘gendered’ or made for certain genders? There have been times when I’ve noticed an abnormal amount of women in the classroom, and times when everything looked much more balanced.
When I was still in high school, I had to pick an academic area in my senior year. The different areas were: Humanities, Physics/Math, Biology/Chemistry, and Economics. I picked Humanities as my area, and out of a class of 26 people, three were men.
Why does this happen? I looked online, and while I couldn’t get my question answered, I did find an interesting study published by Forbes. You can find it here. From the article, I learned that the most popular majors aren’t as ‘gendered’ as I thought they’d been, although there were still some interesting percentages in both. For Health Professions and Clinical Science, from whence a person may become a nurse or physical therapist, women encompassed over 85% of the major! In Education, to become secondary or elementary school teachers, they were about 80% of the major as well. Psychology, 77%. Are you seeing the pattern? Although women and men were pretty equal in some majors, there were some that still stood out. For men, for example, in Engineering they were 83% of the major. Computer Science, 82%.
Perhaps it’s the subject matters that appeal to different genders, or women are led to take different paths than men are. I honestly don’t know, but it’s definitely something I’m going to keep in mind as I move through college.