November 18th, 2009
A new Ministry of Education report shows two-thirds of bachelor degrees last year went to women, the highest figure ever. The report says women have dominated tertiary education for more than a decade, but the number of men who finish bachelor degrees is falling. If the trend continues there will be far-reaching social and economic consequences. Between 2006 and 2008 the number of men completing a bachelor degree fell from 7600 to 6900, while the number of women getting bachelor degrees increased by 100 to 12,900.
There are positives and negatives in the reasoning behind the fall-off in enrolments by men at universities – on the plus side there’s been an increase in men going into trades but on the negative side the secondary school system is discouraging or poorly preparing boys for further learning. But the creation of a high-income, high-employment society depends on getting more men into university, then through their degrees.
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A recent paper by the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust, (highlighted in The Main Report July 20) shows many traditionally male-dominated professions – medicine, law, accounting and planning – are now dominated by women at a junior level. It says if more women take these jobs than men, workplaces will have to adapt. Another concern is women getting to a high level in the workplace then leaving mid-career to have children, creating management vacuums and loss of vital knowledge.
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