A recent study conducted at Boston College shows a disturbing trend of low self-esteem in female college graduates when compared to male graduates. The study analyzed the results of identical surveys, one administered to participants during their first year of college and the second administered during their fourth year.
Researchers found that, despite high academic achievment, female participants had "worse self-understanding" upon graduating than they had four years prior when they took the first questionnaire. Ironically, the male participants (who had lower GPAs on average) appeared more self-assured during their fourth year. Isn't college supposed to prepare me for the real world, not screw me over?
While the women surveyed had impressive achievements, more of their responses illustrated their doubt towards their career potential. The vice president of planning and assessment at Boston College, Kelli Armstrong, credited the findings to the pressures women face "beyond the classroom". In the article Ms. Armstrong states, "I think it became clear to us when we started having the conversations that it wasn't just an academic thing, it was a cultural thing." Many students cited problems such as the “hook-up culture”, “housing lottery”, and the pressure to “look a certain way” as possible causes for this phenomenon.
While reading this article, I immediately felt the disturbing chill of someone who has been there before. I attended a music college that was predominantly male and the gender bias was overwhelming. I was constantly bereted by anti-female stereotypes and generalizations about my gender. My fellow male students would patronize me as a vocalist saying comments such as, “Oh I’m sure you’re a great singer/you must love Taylor swift/come up to my dorm room/don’t worry I can tutor you in ear training.” Ear training? Seriously?
With women outnumbering the amount of men going to college these days you would think we would have gained enough respect to graduate with some confidence. The results of this study can be credited to a plethora of reasons including not only inherent sexism in the college environment, but also the perspective and maturity gained throughout a very confusing and liberting four years. Hopefully through this heightened awareness, maybe the class of 2016 will have a more even playing field.
Thanks to Daily Mail