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The Rise of Women: New Book on Why Men Have Fallen Behind in Education and How to Close the Gap

For Immediate Release, March 2013 Contact: David Haproff, (212) 750-6037

As Women’s History Month begins, the Russell Sage Foundation is announcing the publication of The Rise of Women, a new book on the dramatic expansion of the gender gap in American education.

Based on more than a decade of research, sociologists Thomas DiPrete and Claudia Buchmann provide the first comprehensive look at what role societal shifts, parental influence, peer groups and school environments have played in women’s growing dominance in education — and why men have fallen behind. It offers new, original findings about the far-reaching implications of the gap for both individuals and the broader economy.

Among other surprising new data points, The Rise of Women: The Growing Gender Gap in Education and What It Means for American Schools, reveals that if men had the same educational distribution as women, their unemployment rate would be half a percentage point lower and their personal income would be 3.7% higher.

The reversal in the educational gender gap has been dramatic. In 1970, 58% of U.S. college students were men, but by 2010, 57% of U.S. college students were women. And women now earn more PhDs and far more Master’s Degrees than men. The Rise of Women sheds light on the most pressing questions around this shift, including:

  • How profound changes in gender attitudes and job opportunities have given women strong incentives to pursue and complete higher education
  • How superior social and behavioral skills help explain female advantage in academic performance in elementary school
  • How school-age boys can fall prey to peer pressure to achieve a masculine identity that is anti-academic—creating the so-called “boy problem”—and how strong male role models can counter this trend
  • How lower educational outcomes hurt men’s earning power and lower educational performance of the U.S. as a whole
  • Why women still lag behind men in education in STEM fields— and in earnings for equal work in the job market—and what can be done to close the gap

As Hanna Rosin and others assert that we've reached the "End of Men," DiPrete and Buchmann offer a nuanced analysis that policymakers can use to improve education outcomes for both women and men. The authors argue that targeted policies and initiatives would not only improve individuals’ lives, but also contribute to economic growth and help the U.S. recover its leadership position in education globally.

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The Russell Sage Foundation is the principal American foundation devoted exclusively to research in the social sciences. Located in New York City, it is a research center, a funding source for studies by scholars at other academic and research institutions, and an active member of the nation’s social science community. The Foundation also publishes, under its own imprint, the books that derive from the work of its grantees and Visiting Scholars. It is best known for its support for research programs on low-wage work, social inequality, immigration, and behavioral economics.

For further information on this or any other Russell Sage Foundation publications, or to schedule an interview with the authors, please contact David Haproff at 212-750-6037.

Visit us on the web at: www.russellsage.org