Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.

Donate
Topics

Community Voices is generously supported by The Minneapolis Foundation; learn why.

Women hold keys to America’s future

While women today earn about 60 percent of all bachelor’s degrees, they also make up nearly half of the students in the key areas of law, medicine and business.

photo of american flag
At every government level, from school boards to the halls of Congress, problems and issues require thoughtful, intelligent solutions.

The Senate hearings on Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination notwithstanding, the future of this nation is in the hands of American women. Because, as President Donald Trump perhaps cheekily stated in his Sept. 26 news conference, “Women are smarter than men.” Quantifiable data over the last 30 to 40 years appear to prove it.

Michael Fedo

Michael Fedo

While men used to attend college in significantly greater numbers than women — 58 percent to 42 percent into the 1970s — that ratio has reversed, with women making up nearly 57 percent of current college enrollees, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Last year there were 2 million more women than men attending U.S. colleges and universities. Currently women receive the majority of college degrees in this country, from associate (two-year programs), to bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D.s. Women also outnumber men in postdoctoral studies. And the trend predicts continued growth in women’s postsecondary enrollment, with simultaneous declines among men.

While women today earn about 60 percent of all bachelor’s degrees, they also make up nearly half of the students in the key areas of law, medicine and business. This correlates to their recent ascendance to upper levels of management and administration in these professions.

Meanwhile, boys are abandoning the quest for higher education, and there’s a concomitant corollary: They don’t read. For a variety of reasons — falling behind girls in reading in elementary school, greater incidences of schoolroom misbehavior, early peer pressure to not be classroom smart as these boys may be labeled “sissies,” or “gay” — males have chosen to become post-literate. Certainly, they don’t read books.

Article continues after advertisement

A bookstore manager once told me that women purchased 70 percent of the books he sold, including 90 percent of all fiction. He thought the figures would be similar in other stores, both independent and chains. A nonreading populace is not only less curious, and less knowledgeable, they are less able to reason and make intelligent decisions. Male CEOs and board chairs face a dinosaur future; their heretofore majority presence will be assumed by educated, bright women.

Several years ago, I watched singer/songwriter Jim Post perform his one-man show, “Mark Twain and the Laughing River,” in Galena, Illinois. During the show, Post, quoting Twain, occasionally broke in with the observation, “Boys are idiots.” By the third or fourth time he uttered the phrase, the audience was chorusing it with him. This sarcastic pronouncement in Twain’s era now seems prescient.

Which brings us to November’s elections. We all want our elected leaders to be smarter than we are. At every government level, from school boards to the halls of Congress, problems and issues require thoughtful, intelligent solutions. Education and reading-eschewing males are becoming less capable than women in dealing with contemporary concerns.

The solution seems abundantly clear: Mark your ballot with a woman’s name wherever possible.

Michael Fedo of Coon Rapids has published 10 books, most recently, “Don’t Quit Your Day Job: The Adventures of a Midlist Author.”

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you’re interested in joining the discussion, add your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a letter or a longer-form Community Voices commentary. (For more information about Community Voices, see our Submission Guidelines.)