Gender dominated majors have no place in higher education

All of these fields come with their own challenges and are vital to our society, so why limit them to one gender? | Ruth Santana, PantherNOW

Ruth Santana | Contributing Writer

No matter how much we try to fight it, gender prejudice follows us everywhere. Out-of-date stereotypes still affect how women and men get treated in their academic journey- it’s ridiculous.

What society considers to be female and male dominated fields only limits what college students can do and jeopardizes the progress they could make in their professional fields.

Women in STEM have faced obstacles at every corner whether it’s discrimination, lack of representation, gender pay gap or a lack of support. And men in the humanities field are faced with similar situations, it’s absurd.

Professions such as nursing, education and psychology are considered “female-dominated” since women tend to be pushed into fields where they care for or help people. Likewise, engineering, criminal justice and aviation professions are considered “male-dominated” since men are pushed into more authoritative fields. 

All of these fields come with their own challenges and are vital to our society, so why limit them to one gender?

Currently, men make up 12% of the nursing workforce in America and 26% of graduates in STEM are women, but these numbers won’t increase if we do not shift how we view the field. To limit men or women from pursuing any field would be a gross disservice to us and future generations.

Sophia Bautista, a fourth-year Criminal Justice major, said “… I believe that there is prejudice against women. I feel like women aren’t taken as seriously in the criminal justice field and that men are seen as ‘stronger’, ‘smarter’, or even more ‘authoritative’ than women. There is also a huge discrepancy between the number of women in the criminal justice field and men in the field.”

STEM fields need diversity to thrive and create solutions that benefit every member of our society. Men and women have the equal ability to think logically and problem-solve so it would only make sense to treat them as so in their academic pursuit. 

It has been proven time and time again that women are just as capable as men so there is no reason for women to be treated differently. 

The good news is that women have gained some ground in a few “male-dominated” majors. Today women make up 52% of juris doctor degrees recipients, compared to only 30% in 1980.

The stigma for men in “female-dominated” fields is that it can be emasculating to pursue anything that is not an automatic money-making career. Men are forced to believe that they have to become breadwinners to have value which is a very out-dated way to think.

Business, for example, is considered a “male-dominated” field. Men are typically pushed towards the role of authority causing men to lack emotional intelligence and pushed to chase status instead of companionship. 

Kevin Jorge, a recent Nursing major graduate, stated “I would argue both sides get treated unfairly in the sense that women are targeted in the major by higher-ranking officials for things like quid pro quo. Meanwhile, men are only treated unfairly in some regards where most people would prefer a nurse who is a woman because they feel that the care offered would be better.”

The stereotype that men are considered uncaring and less detail-oriented makes it more difficult than it has to be to pursue “female dominated” careers. This can easily make men feel that they’re unable to make an impact within their field. 

Bryson Stevens, a fourth-year Nursing major, believes the solution to the problem is lack of awareness, “I think that advertising and more exposure and just debunking those biases and prejudices towards the genders would be a good course of action.”

There are a few cases of diverse majors where gender bias doesn’t run rampant, but we shouldn’t be ignorant of the problem college students are facing today. 

With the term gender expanding, it is time for stereotypical gender roles to stop playing such a significant role in our daily lives and our futures. Removing the stigma of male and female dominated fields can make all the difference in how we experience our academic lives. 


The opinions presented on this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community. 

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