Data Check – Women make the biggest gains in university education

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A recent Statistics Canada look at women and education shows that postsecondary attainment amongst Canadian women and men has increased markedly since 1990. The increase in the proportion of people with a postsecondary diploma or certificate was roughly the same for women and men. When it comes to university degrees, however, women’s attainment rates grew much faster than for men.
In 1990, slightly fewer than 14 per cent of women aged 25-54 had university degree, compared to 17 per cent of men. By 2009, women’s attainment rate had doubled to 28 per cent. In contrast, men’s university attainment rose to 25 per cent.
It is no surprise then that 60 per cent of university graduates now are women. They tend to be concentrated in the humanities, social sciences and education. Men are disproportionately represented in fields like engineering, mathematics and computer sciences.

Percentage of Women among University Graduates2008
Total – Instructional programs60.0
Architecture, engineering & related services22.2
Mathematics, computer & information sciences30.4
Personal, protective & transportation services44.9
Business, management & public administration53.0
Agriculture, natural resources & conservation55.9
Physical & life sciences, & technologies57.3
Visual & performing arts & communication technology66.5
Social & behavioural sciences, law67.0
Other instructional programs69.4
Health, parks, recreation & fitness77.

Source: Statistics Canada, Women and Education

This article originally appeared in the OCUFA Report. To receive stories like this every week in your inbox, please subscribe.

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