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ERIC Number: ED556731
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Apr
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 11
Gender Segregation in Fields of Study at Community Colleges and Implications for Future Earnings. Fact Sheet #C395
Moughari, Layla; Gunn-Wright, Rhiana; Gault, Barbara
Institute for Women's Policy Research
Postsecondary education yields myriad benefits, including increased earnings potential, higher lifetime wages, and access to quality jobs. But postsecondary degrees are not all equal in the benefits they bring to students, and women tend to obtain degrees in fields with lower earnings. Women with associate degrees earn approximately 75 percent of what men with associate degrees earn (DeNavas-Walt, Proctor, and Smith 2011). This wage gap occurs in part because women with AA degrees--like women at all degree levels--often work in lower-paid, female-dominated occupations (Hegewisch, et al. 2010). Jobs in traditionally male occupations, such as engineering and mechanics, typically pay higher wages than female-dominated occupations (Hegewisch et al. 2010). Since women face a labor market characterized by persistent gender wage gaps to occupational placement, discrimination, and other factors (Blau and Kahn 2007), it is critical that college administration and policy makers become aware of segregation in fields of study and take steps to eliminate it. Women often bear the primary social and financial responsibility for child rearing their equal access to quality jobs is critical for family economic success and the future well-being of children. This fact sheet presents data on associate degree field of study by gender, and finds that even though women are the majority of those receiving associate degrees, they remain underrepresented in a number of relatively high-earning, traditionally male fields, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Institute for Women's Policy Research. 1200 18th Street NW, Suite 301, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-833-4362; Fax: 202-785-5100; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Authoring Institution: Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR)