Here is a statistic that may have profound implications for schools and society in the not too distant future:
According to the most recent census, women are the primary breadwinners in 40% of all families, and the trend lines suggest that, despite earning on average just 81 cents to every dollar a male counterpart earns, women will play an even larger economic role in families in the near future.
Part of this change can be explained by the recent recession, which is sometimes referred to as the “he-cession” because 2/3 of the job losses occurred in areas such as heavy manufacturing and other sectors long dominated by men. A more telling reason for this dramatic shift, though, is that women are doing significantly better than men in school. For some time now, women have been earning more graduate and undergraduate degrees; for every 2 men who earn a college degree this year, for example, there will be 3 women. The result is that, on average, women under 30 now earn MORE than men in the same demographic.
Although there are all kinds of advantages in single sex schools, our own surveys suggest that while UCC does a good job of preparing its graduates for university, there is a glaring weakness: young Old Boys report that it takes them a while to figure out how to work well with women. (Is there a punch line there somewhere?)
As a result of this, we are trying to expand our boys’ opportunities to work shoulder to shoulder with girls. In addition to offering coed experiences in service, drama, music, and debate, we now offer an evening “Theory of Knowledge” course with Branksome Hall School.
It is too early to tell if this class and the other coed options have had a significant impact on our boys’ social and emotional development, but as women continue to make important gains in education and in the professional world, it will become increasingly important for our boys to adjust in order to flourish in our increasingly flatter and fairer world.