Female college graduation rate surpasses male graduation rate

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Photo Credit: Kelly Smith | Daily Texan Staff

For the first time, women now lead men in the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded nationwide, according to the United States Census Bureau.

This trend toward higher female graduation rates is nothing new for UT as the campus has had slightly higher rates of female graduation since at least 2013, according to Texas Higher Education Data.

Biomedical engineering senior Devangi Dave, president of Women in Biomedical Engineering, said the rates are promising for the futures of women across academia, but Dave said there is still work left in many academic fields to increase female graduation rates.

“It’s great to see women become more confident in pursuing their dreams,” Dave said in an email. “As a nation, we are moving in the right direction. However, we still face a gap in STEM fields such as Mechanical Engineering where there are only 20 percent women enrolled in the undergraduate program.”

Dave was not alone in her concern for gender equality across different academic fields. Stephanie Cawthon, associate educational psychology professor, said graduation rates are not enough information to understand gender inequity problems.

“We have also seen a heightened disparity when you get to graduate programs,” Cawthon said in an email. “So the bachelor’s degree information, alone, does not explain the gender economic gap. To understand gender inequities in education and employment, you will need to differentiate by type of degree and look towards longer term outcomes.”

Government junior Paola Pina, President of Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas, said in addition to academics, she wants to bring more attention to women’s opinions. 

“These figures definitely reveal we are moving in the direction,” Pina said. “However, it’s time to actually see these numbers mean more than just that: numbers. Whether at our University’s administration [or] our local government, the female perspective is still ignored.”

Aerospace engineering junior Salvador Cervantes said he recognizes women’s problems and said the rates are a good sign for how the nation and UT are changing for the better.

“Females are just as capable as men. Why shouldn’t they have just as high of graduation rates?” Cervantes said. “But I do also see why it’s unfortunately taken this long, especially in STEM subjects. We have a male-dominated society — as much as it shouldn’t be, it is. The UT rates show how we are a leader for reform and give support to women.”