Why are the majority of university students women? - ARCHIVED
Articles and reports: 81-004-X200800110561
Over the last 30 years or so, a dramatic reversal has taken place on Canadian university campuses. According to the 1971 Census, 68% of 25 to 29 year-old university graduates were male. By 2006, women accounted for 60% of university graduates between the ages of 25 and 29.
This article summarizes the results of recent research that set out to explain the large gender gap in university participation. The focus of the analysis is on the extent to which differences in the characteristics of boys and girls at age 15 account for the gender gap in university participation at age 19. Factors found to play a key role include differences in school marks at age 15; in standardized test scores in reading at age 15; in study habits; in parental expectations; and in the earnings advantage of university graduates over those with no more than a high school education. The analysis is based on data from the Youth in Transition Survey (YITS), Cycle 3 which collected information from YITS participants in 2003, when they were 19 years old.