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As he put it, “If you really wanted to get serious about it, you would look at it department by department and major by major for every school.”
Just why women and men tend to choose different paths is complicated, Baenninger said, and well worth a discussion. What would help foster that is if coeducational liberal arts colleges would collect and publish data by gender much the same way St. Ben’s and St. John’s do.
Baenninger said she has pitched that idea at conferences, and she knows without asking that doing so would show the same differences between men and women as they have at St. Ben’s and St. John’s. But unlike at her college, she said, it’s not discussed much.
“This is one of the things that keeps the disparities occurring,” Baenninger said. “If anybody thinks there is an even number of physics majors between men and women at coed institutions, they are wrong. By not separating the data, they are masking what St. Ben’s and St. John’s are revealing.”
It seems like a good idea to disclose more data by gender across higher education, but of course, how much it will lead to different choices for high school seniors and their families is far from clear.
But at least no one can go on believing that the top ROI college in Minnesota is one that just coincidentally happens to be only for men.
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