American women today are more likely to earn college degrees than men with women receiving 57 percent of all bachelor’s and 60 percent of all master’s degrees. But are there consequences to having more women than men in college?
Research from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and University of Minnesota has found the ratio of men to women dramatically alters women’s choices about career and family. When men are scarce, women delay having children and instead pursue high-paying careers.
“Most women don’t realize it, but an important factor in a woman’s career choice is how easy or difficult it is to find a husband,” said Kristina Durante, assistant professor of marketing at the UTSA College of Business. “When a woman’s dating prospects look bleak — as is the case when there are few available men — she is much more likely to delay starting a family and instead seek a career.”
In one study, the researchers examined the ratio of single men to single women in each U.S. state and Washington D.C. They found that as bachelors became scarce, the percentage of women in high-paying careers increased, women delayed having children, and had fewer kids when they finally decided to start a family.
In another study on college campuses, the researchers led women to believe that there were either more men or less men on campus by having participants read one of two news article about the student population. When women read that there were fewer men than women on campus, they became more motivated to pursue ambitious careers rather than start a family.