Gender Equity:

Men's and Women's Participation in Higher Education

GAO-01-128: Published: Dec 15, 2000. Publicly Released: Dec 21, 2000.

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Since Title IX of the Education Amendments was enacted in 1972, women's participation in higher education academic programs has increased significantly. Women's participation in predominantly male fields such as business, law, and medicine has also increased greatly, although changes in other predominantly male fields, such as engineering and physical science, have been smaller. In some predominantly female fields, including elementary education and nursing, there have been increases in the proportion of men receiving degrees. In the 1995-96 school year, first-year college men and women were about as likely to receive financial aid and received about the same average amounts of grant and loan aid. Men continue to outnumber women on faculties in predominantly male fields at colleges and universities. Women's participation in intercollegiate sports at four-year colleges and universities has increased while men's participation has dropped slightly, although they still participate at a higher rate than do women. On average, in the 1998-99 school year, the National Collegiate Athletic Association member schools spent more per male intercollegiate sports participant than female participant in recruiting, coaches' salaries, and operations. However, they spent more on athletic scholarships for women than for men. Men continue to hold the majority of athletics director positions in intercollegiate athletics. Because other factors, such as other civil rights laws and changing societal attitudes, have also led to changes in women's roles, it is difficult to isolate the specific effects of Title IX.

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