The state of women in higher ed

A roundup of stats

Kristin Tyndall, editorKristin Tyndall, editor

As the world celebrated International Women's Day, we reflected on the state of women in higher ed. Are our female students, faculty, staff, and alumnae succeeding on campus and in the workplace?

After some research and a look into our archives, we've rounded up 10 quick facts about women in higher ed.

1. Smith College set a new record for fundraising by a women's college in February, raising $486 million.

2. Women in higher ed still earn only 80% of what men make, on average.

3. Female students make up more than half of all college students… but just over a quarter of college presidents and higher ed board members.

4. When boards include more female members, they can experience several advantages, including better crisis management and decision-making.

5. Roughly one in five women is sexually assaulted while in college, according to some studies. (Here are three ways you can make it easier for students to report sexual misconduct.)

6. Young women earn $9,000 less than men right after college. This is probably exacerbated by the fact that only 26% of young women negotiate their job offers—and few of those who do are successful.

7. Just one in five engineering students is female, prompting some colleges to build special living-learning communities for their future female engineers. But three STEM fields are dominated by women: statistics, botany, and health care.

8. Female students are less likely to be perceived as the smartest student in class—and women professors are less likely to be perceived as "brilliant" and "genius."

9. Successful women leaders say it takes "confidence and connections" to get ahead.

10. And last but not least: Turns out, even your thermostat could be sexist.


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