Grad School = Gender Gap?

By Andrea Alarcón

A New York Times article on how women are flocking back to grad school while their male counterparts scramble for a job caught my attention. Not only because of the content, but because of the tone. It seemed as if though women are investing more in their future by being in debt and not taking any job that will not satisfy them. But, is it a wise choice?

The girl described in the article, who is now $200.000 in debt for a communications degree, is getting slammed in many places for being plain naive. We are all aware that at this point, women earn more degrees and do better than men in school. Yet getting good grades does not equate to having a great career.

There is still this heavy cultural message that men should be out there earning money and supporting themselves, and they feel more distressed by losing their breadwinner role,” said Stephanie Coontz, director of research at the Council on Contemporary Families. “We’ve made much more progress overcoming the ‘feminine mystique’ than this masculine mystique.

Photo: Kris Krüg
Stephanie Coontz. Photo: Kris Krüg via Wikipedia.

The article states that women are thinking more long-term and will in the end benefit more. Yet careers considered more female-prone earn less. Social work, communications, liberal arts degrees… the engineering department at my school was scarce with women. So, why are we racking up more debt if we earn less? Is it the lack of pressure of maintaining a family? We don’t have that bread-winner role?

I am myself applying to masters degrees in media, but I would not get into debt for it. Then again, I know I am lucky and have that choice… if I needed to get into debt, I don’t honestly know what choice I would make. What do you think? Is going to school during this crisis and burying yourself in debt a forward-thinking one or a foolish one? And why are women taking this path and not men?

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