ERIC Number: ED338532
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
Women at Thirtysomething: Paradoxes of Attainment.
Based on information beginning with the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972, this study describes the educational careers and labor market experience of women in the class of 1972 through the time they were 32 years old. Women's academic performance in high school was far stronger than that of men, yet, at the same time, both their educational aspirations and plans were lower than those of men. Nonetheless, they continued their education after high school at the same rate as men, were rewarded more scholarships for postsecondary education, and completed college degrees faster than did men. Women's grade point averages in college were higher than men's no matter what field they studied. As a result of their undergraduate achievements, the educational aspirations of women changed considerably, with dramatic increases aspiring to graduate degree. From age 18 to age 32, the women of the class of 1972 developed more positive attitudes toward education than did men, and came to believe that they truly benefited from schooling. These benefits, however, did not hold up in the labor market, where evidence of women's superior educational performance and commitment was discounted. Between age 25 and 32, for example, a much higher percentage of women than men experienced genuine unemployment, no matter what degree they earned. In only 7 of 33 major occupations did women achieve pay equity with men. Despite the discouraging pattern of earnings differentials, more women than men found their education relevant to their work, and, among bachelor's degree holders, more women than men came to work "a great deal" with ideas, the engine of an information economy. Women also took a more positive attitude than men toward working conditions, relationships on the job, and development of new skills. They were, in short, more enthusiastic and potentially productive workplace participants at the same time they were under-rewarded. The study concludes that both women's knowledge and their willingness to share that knowledge in the workplace is critical to the nation's future, and should be rewarded so that all may benefit. A lengthy list of references and 23 tables of data compiled from the surveys utilized are included at the end of the report. (DB)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Academic Aspiration, Career Choice, Education Work Relationship, Educational Benefits, Educational Mobility, Educational Opportunities, Educational Policy, Educational Research, Employment Opportunities, Employment Potential, Females, High Schools, Higher Education, Longitudinal Studies, Outcomes of Education, Relevance (Education), Sex Bias, Sex Differences, Sex Role, Social Science Research, Tables (Data), Womens Education
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Identifiers: National Longitudinal Study High School Class 1972