Women Now Earning More Bachelor's and Graduate Degrees Than Men

Posted by Liz Dwyer

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You go, girl! According to a new Census report released on Tuesday, Educational Attainment in the United States: 2010, more adults over the age of 25 than ever—30 percent—have bachelor's degrees. And women are out-achieving men when it comes to earning both bachelor's and advanced degrees (as I noted before, some schools even have affirmative action programs for men).

Women began outnumbering men in college enrollment in the early 1980s, and since 1996, they've earned more bachelor's degrees. Data from this latest report shows that for adults aged 25 to 29, 36 percent of women have earned a bachelor's degree or more, compared with only 28 percent of men. But this is the first year women are earning more advanced degrees than their male counterparts. Only a decade ago, men held the majority, 55.4 percent, of advanced degrees. According to the current data, 10,685,000 working women over 25 hold master's degrees, law degrees, doctoral degrees, and other other graduate degrees, compared to only 10,562,000 men. However, there's still room for improvement. Women still lag behind in business, science, and engineering graduate degrees.

So what does this mean for men, and for the so-called "mancession"? Most of the jobs lost during this current recession have been lost by men, and the unemployment rate is 9.3 percent for men and 8.3 percent for women. With employers wanting a more highly educated workforce, one implication might be that women will have an slight edge when their résumés cross a hiring manager's desk. But, although this isn't a competition, and a generation of poorly educated men isn't exactly a good thing for society, this is a sign that we're making progress on gender equality.

photo (cc) via Flickr user Jason Bache