Yesterday, Tenured Radical discussed an article in the New York Times that was examining the dating situation for young women on the campus of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The school is almost 60 percent female and that leaves many coeds “all dressed up with nowhere to go” on a Saturday night. Someone from the University explains they have this gender imbalance because they do not have an engineering school.
Many liberal arts colleges have a similar gender imbalance; the ratio tends to be 50 -50 or a higher amount of men when the school is strong in math, science, and engineering. Historically when a profession became more than 50 percent female, it often became less valued. Of course, women now make up 50 percent of the workforce so it is not clear if that pattern will continue.
We spent a week in December at North Carolina State University, Raleigh. The whole experience had a retro aspect to it, which is similar to the feeling I got reading the New York Times article. Social and cultural life at NCSU appeared old fashioned, segregated, and more traditional in terms of gender issues. The same was true for the city of Raleigh.