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Women in Education - Research Paper Example

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Postsecondary education generates both individual and social benefits. Individuals who have earned a bachelor’s degree not only have a better access to employment (and a wider range of opportunities) but also earn substantially more than those with less education…
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Women in Education
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"Women in Education"

Download file to see previous pages Attending college also enriches students’ lives in other ways that are longstanding and, indeed, extend to their offspring. (National Center for Education Statistics, 2002, p.19) The statement above well represents the values of our society concerning the higher education and its importance for the occupational outcomes in the future. Despite the fact that the majority believe that pursuing a higher education is a key to successful and promising future, not all of us seek this path thinking it an option for life success. This is particularly true for African Americans and African American females in particular. African Americans still remain an underrepresented group within the educational system of almost any level these days. For example, at highly selective colleges white students were 5 times as likely as African American students to get enrolled, as well as 2 or 3 times as likely to be admitted as their black peers (Huffington Post, 2012). At college, African American student graduation rate is at a dismally low level: 42 per cent. In contrast, this figure for students who are white is 20 per cent above: 62 per cent. This data is true for both male and female college populations, although recent research shows that black women outperform black men at college. The situation is even worse at the post-graduate and doctoral levels. Stephanie Evans, the author of research “Women of Color in American Higher Education”, provides the following statistics: the number of black female faculty members was 2 per cent at the turn of the 21st century; after almost a decade, there were still so few of them in academia (Evans 131). In this paper, I argue that black women remain underrepresented in the higher education due to historical reasons, disparities in academic preparation due to unequal access to curriculum, income disparities, prejudice towards black women academic potential, stereotyping by professors and students, isolation and alienation, social pressure, lack of Black role models and lack of mentoring support. The fact that for centuries African Americans had been prevented from getting any education at all and from pursuing higher education at white institutions has played a significant role in lack of higher education aspirations in black people. Gardner (1992) found that higher education aspirations in black students depended on their parents’ expectations (McKeemer 17). Further, Coleman (2001) found that lack of self-motivation and parental involvement was one of the factors that influenced the decision of an African American student to pursue higher education (McKeemer 20). In a recent qualitative study of gender and racial inequities that exist among college students, Rachelle Wrinkle-Wagner (2010) found that female college students of African American background are often approached with the question whether Black people, too, can do this (i.e. study in a college). Indeed, the culture of pursuing a college degree is quite young: Evans (2007) reports that “the first successful Black applicants to the University of Florida would not be accepted until the late 1950s, more than a century after its founding in 1853” (Evans 135). Yet, the number of black students and faculty has traditionally remained low: among 5, 810 members of tenured faculty in the Florida State University System only 157 were black women (the number of black male faculty was 258), as of 2004 (Evans 135). Disparities in academic preparation due to unequal access to curriculum have played a significant role in preventing African American females from having college-bound aspirations. Caroline Simard argues that starting at the K-12 level, school students that come from minorities are more likely to be studying in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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