Choices Make a Difference

I have no problem if women want to spend four years at college studying (at their own expense) the role of indigenous women in the postmodernist Marxist movement of 1960's Paraguay, or whatever.  However, I do have a problem when these same folks later complain that their income is below average or they are under-represented in the board room.  Just peruse the top and bottom of this list at Carpe Diem

College degrees most dominated by women include library science, consumer science, social science, education, language, psychology, and gender studies.  Top college degrees most dominated by men include construction trades, engineering tech, transportation, military technologies, engineering and computer science. 

Sorry, but I cannot imagine any possible restructuring of society and the economy where the first list is more valuable and has higher income potential than the second list.


  1. Dan:

    Interesting that History is about 60% male, but "area, cultural, ethnic, and gender studies" is 70% female. So when I wonder aloud, "what methodology do you use in any of those fields that is somehow superior to the methodology of basic history," I guess the answer is, "If you don't know, I'm not going to tell you."

  2. Dr. T:

    What was missing from the chart were the numbers of graduates in each area (in addition to the percentages of men and women). My suspicion is that there are many more people getting sociology or psychology degrees than engineering or chemistry or computer degrees. Women are graduating college in greater numbers than men, and people with degrees in psychology, sociology, literature, etc. are a dime a dozen.

    If not for foreign students, classrooms in science and engineering colleges would be half empty, despite the highest college attendence in history. Many, many kids go to college, but only a few can handle the tougher majors.

  3. GU:

    I think Dr. T's hypothesis re: more people receiving blow-off degrees due to a dumbing down of the pool of college students probably has some truth to it.

    However, I have noticed that science/engineering types often seem to assume that all people who don't major in science/engineering do so because they can't hack it. Sure, some can't, but plenty more are just more interested in social science/humanities stuff.

    Also, Coyote's point is well taken--if you choose to get a non-practical degree in college, you can't argue that it is unfair that you get paid less ex post. However, there is something to be said for a rigorous liberal arts undergraduate education. I'm not making accusations, but we should be careful not to lump ____-studies, sociology, etc. with classics, philosophy, economics, etc.

  4. Bill:

    I think the pay gap most people complain about is differences in pay for similarly qualified employees doing the same job, not just in jobs in general.

  5. agesilaus:

    There was a decided path to the bottom that I noticed while I was in school (as a hard science/engineering major). The feckless started out as an English major, after finding that they couldn't write a coherent paragraph they start the slide down--> Sociology-->Psychology (in either order) and finally the spot below whale droppings. The School of Education (sic). Where they take their vengence on the rest of society for the rest of their careers. This explains why these people hate standarized testing so much, they were abject failures themselves at taking tests and despise those who could do well on them.

  6. rxc:

    I think the worst part of this is that "these people" who are getting these worthless degrees in the humanities are then put in charge of teaching communication skills to the rest of the university, including the engineering/science types. I have a theory that this is why engineers have such problems writing good reports and communicating with the opposite sex/gender - they have been ruined by these literary/deconstruction types.

    The complaints about being paid less also turn up in the affirmative action arena. All these people with degrees are lumped together in one pot as "professionals", and engineering managers are expected to hire representative numbers of women and minorities based on their overall participation in the "professional" category. Well, guess what? - there aren't many women/monitory engineers, so an organization has to make it up somewhere, and you end up with legal and personnel departments full of women and minorities, who have quite different attitudes/thought processes from the engineers they are supposed to "support".

    Ah, social engineering - it will be an interesting four years under Obama...

  7. jay:

    Though the percentage of women in legal professions and services would seem to be a lucrative one...

    and the 65% male domination of 'theology and religious vocations'.... that is one wasted vocation