Women and Graduate School

There has been a buzz in the news the past few days about a report that women with PhD’s now outnumber men. When you look little deeper into the figures, about 500 more women got PhD’s than men so it is not that big a difference. Women are over represented in fields like education and the humanities. The sciences and engineering remain more heavily male. Also getting more PhD’s doesn’t translate in getting additional pay. A cynical view might be now the majority of PhDs go to women the degree will decrease in value and prestige. The so-called female professions such as nursing, librarian, and social work have never commanded the respect, pay, or prestige of law and medicine.

Here is a link to a Newsweek story about it

Newsweek’s take is to focus on how it is still difficult to combine an academic career and a family. I talked about this in an earlier post. The article also refers to  the 1950’s when women were more likely to earn a PHT than a PhD. PHT stands for “putting hubby through”. Many of the faculty wives clubs I am studying had the PHT degree.  The GI Bill enabled a large number of men to go back to school after World War 2; many wives worked to support their husbands graduate school education. My aunt Flora helped my uncle Miltie get a library degree and she referred to the experience as “putting hubby through”.

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