January 12, 2012

"Women, more than men, are staying out of the work force to pursue higher education."

"When the economy improves, will this education gap break the glass ceiling? Or will men still be better off because they were gaining work experience while women were taking on student loan debt?"

What are the women studying? What are the men working at? I suspect the higher-ed/no higher-ed distinction is the wrong distinction.

23 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Credentials are credentials while work experience is only a great training ground so that the credentialed boss can use you and claim credit for your work ...see her credentials on the wall over there.

MadisonMan said...

Certainly there will be a demand for all the Sociology and Women's Studies PhDs that women are accumulating.

I am reminded of Bill Murray's line to Andie McDowell in Groundhog Day, the first time, when she tells him her college major. Link.

Cheryl said...

A couple of days ago you linked to the research paper that highlighted the finding that there are significant differences in male and female personalities. One of the big differences is higher dominance/venturesomeness for males, versus higher warmth/affiliation for females.

It seems to me that going to school is one way that women seek affiliation, while a guy is more willing to "seek his fortune" by striking out on his own to find work. Women aren't so much staying away from the work force as they are finding groups of similar people. In a similar way new moms like to seek each other out, hence the "mommy groups" that spring up. Guys would never do that.

A man, on the other hand, is more likely to be willing to try something on his own. While the article might portray that as "staying in the workforce," it is really a kind of risk-taking.

It's not that the work force is biased against women. It's that right now it is not the best way to find affiliation and warmth.

edutcher said...

Since this is the man-cession, it would appear even women are now being hit.

This is what men were doing 2 years ago.

And programs like WIA haven't been successful in re-integrating people into the workforce.

EDH said...

...will this education gap break the glass ceiling? Or will men still be better off because they were gaining work experience while women were taking on student loan debt?

...I suspect the higher-ed/no higher-ed distinction is the wrong distinction.


Obama don't care. Obama don't give a shit.

As long as there are differences in outcome to exploit by pitting one class or sex or race against one another.

Christopher said...

One of my friends has a degree in English and Philosophy and did two years in grad school for "Travel Writing".

She currently works at a daycare center for $8 an hour.

TosaGuy said...

Jane Austen's contribution to women's student loan debt and stunted careers is staggering.

ALP said...

Since you asked...
This old fart of 50 is hiding out in a 3 year landscape architecture program. I am crossing my fingers that at least Home Depo's garden department might hire me for minimum wage. I would be an improvement over not working at all I guess.

But I don't know if mid life vanity degrees really are the point of the article. And can I just vent that I am so fucking sick of hearing about this goddamn glass ceiling shit as if the corner office life was the only one worth living?

TCB-n-a-Flash said...

I have some friends, a lesbian couple, that are both Chicago School teachers. One of them graduated with a degree in Women's Studies. When she told me this, she laughed, and said, "then I had to go back to school to get something marketable."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I am so fucking sick of hearing about this goddamn glass ceiling shit as if the corner office life was the only one worth living?

This is something that annoys me also.

There are plenty of jobs and worthwhile careers that provide not only a good living but also emotional satisfaction that have nothing whatsoever to do with being in an office or corporate environment.

Vanity, self indulgent degrees will maybe make you feel good about yourself for a while, until you realize that outside of a narrow circle of other self absorbed twits, no one gives a shit about your 'degree' in French Poetry or Woymns Studies.

If you want to be a success and make money, look at what it is that people need and want. Also, what can YOU provide as a business, that isn't easily outsourced or mechanized. Most of those things don't always require an expensive degree.

Peter said...

This doesn't seem so hard: men are working because they have to, and women are going to school because they can.

And as with anything, what the particpants get out of it will have a lot to do with what they put into it.

But there is reasonably more concern over those who are in school, as there's a greater probability that they'll end up as part of the permanent, parasitical regulatory apparat instead of working at something that creates economic value instead of destroying it.

traditionalguy said...

The computer/digital age has been able to replace management and Overseer jobs for 20 years now. The software has now caught up.

The Chinese make things and run the world now. Americans need to find a new pass time besides productive work.

The Military establishment and skills of a World Hegemon is also withering away here as fast as Obama and friends can arrange for that.

Maybe we can all become Lady GaGa type entertainers. The Universities will have to tell us what that career path is called.

Bender said...

I am so fucking sick of hearing about this goddamn glass ceiling shit as if the corner office life was the only one worth living?
_________________

I've heard about this mythical "glass ceiling," but have never actually seen one.

On the other hand, I've observed quite a few concrete doorways for members of a certain disfavored demographic group who we are told run the world and always get whatever they want.

ic said...

"I suspect the higher-ed/no higher-ed distinction is the wrong distinction."

But that'll explain the sexist discrimnations in the work place.

After getting her Harvard Master Degree (in Woman's Studies), a NYU Master (in Occupy Wall Street), a woman was paid less than a man who has only a Bachelor degree from Iowa (in Engineering). Who (except the rich employer) cares about the details?

Freeman Hunt said...

Jane Austen's contribution to women's student loan debt and stunted careers is staggering.

Heh heh heh. Too true, too true.

Dan in Philly said...

It's stoopid to think that more education = better career. I would argue that men staying out of college is them showing better judgement. I base this on the whole higher education bubble meme going on out there, and the fact that most women I know who persued higher ed aren't using it for any good purpose.

Of course the reasoning goes much deeper than this, including the lack of challenge you find in college these days. Don't we find frequent complaints about dumbing down college to where it's almost a glorified high school? Take a bright young restless man and tell him he's going to be hopelessly bored for the next 4 years as he was the past 12 - or maybe he can become a bounty hunter! Or a marine!

Paul said...

Ann wrote: "What are the women studying? What are the men working at? I suspect the higher-ed/no higher-ed distinction is the wrong distinction."

It's not the wrong distinction, Ann, it's just not the only one that needs to be made. As an empirical matter, education and experience are both important determinants of a person's earnings. And, as you imply, obtaining a bit more of one tends to mean accruing a bit less of the other, so the important question to ask is more nuanced than the one you asked: does the person understand the trade-off that is implicit in the choice he or she is making?

If you peruse the labor economics literature, you'll find that one of the most fruitful areas is the empirical estimation of the earnings function. There are literally thousands of papers, using various data sources, that have looked into this issue. All are different from the rest in some way, but one overriding conclusion of this half-century or so of research is that there is no single determinant of people's wages.

In other words, the wage determination process is multi-factoral. Some factors (e.g., how well the overall economy is doing) are beyond the individual's control. But a number of determinants show up again and again as being very important: 1) how much schooling, and 2) what kind of schooling, a person has; 3) the amount work experience in general, and 4) work experience specific to the current job.

Another finding in this literature: that there are other key factors in wage determination that are nearly impossible to quantify, although their importance can be inferred indirectly -- things like ambition, work ethic, intelligence, focus, and competitive drive. Mostly these aren't under the individual's control.

MadisonMan said...

Jane Austen's contribution to women's student loan debt and stunted careers is staggering.

Sounds like a good thesis topic.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Hey now, don't blame poor Jane Austen for the foolishness of college students. She's got to be in anyone's top five list of authors who can be completely understood by an adult, without benefit of an overpaid logorrheic professor.
Oh. *adult*. OK, now I guess I see the problem.

Sam said...

I'm going back (just filled out the paper work last night) to beef up my profile for the business I'm starting. (Shameless self promotion bit) check it out http://www.neurodiversityconsulting.org/

Don't Tread 2012 said...

The insular nature of higher education is what attracts people in many cases.

If you've ever worked with a PhD before you know how annoying self-congratulatory behavior can become. Many insist that you address them as 'doctor', even the history or education types.

These are the people that give more legitimate higher education (research science/medical/technology) a bad name.

wv - suckspe

lol

Jose_K said...

is one way that women seek affiliation, while a guy is more willing to "seek his fortune"..young men are more willing to "seek his fortune", not true for older ones

rhhardin said...

On the credential, in the empty room: no ptyx,
Curio of vacuous sonority, extinct..