Women outnumber men at NIU

By Sara Adams

For more than a decade and a half, women have dominated men in numbers on the NIU campus.

The fact there are 2,150 more females than males enrolled this year is not a surprise to Bob Burk, NIU’s director of admissions.

“For the most part, it’s always been that way,” Burk said. “It’s been interesting over the last few years, some schools have actually tried to recruit more men so they would have enough males for sports programs and [residence halls].”

This year isn’t the first year NIU has had a higher female population.

“These numbers have been consistent for a long time,” said Dan House, director of institutional research. In 1986 the campus was 54.61 percent female compared to 53.67 percent in 2003.

The numbers make sense to sophomore geography major Trevor Kershaw.

“It makes sense that there are more women in college than men,” Kershaw said. “First of all, there are more women in the population, and secondly there aren’t as many unskilled jobs available for women. I mean, people don’t think of construction jobs as a woman’s domain.”

Burk says the higher female population at NIU may have something to do with the heavy population of education majors, which tend to be more female than male.

Nina Dorsch, chair of the department of teaching and learning, said more females pursue a degree in education because of the gendered nature of the field.

“When people start envisioning themselves as adults and what they’re going to do with their lives, they tend to reflect on what they remember from their past,” Dorsch said. “Traditionally in the world more women pursue teacher certification to teach at the elementary or early childhood level than men. If you walk into an elementary school you’re going to see more females than men. If you walk into a high school, or even middle school, you start to see more male teachers.”

The increase of females attending college has something to do with the economy and people’s perceptions of the best way to get ahead in a bad economy, said Amy Levin, director of the women’s studies program.

“Many women that did not go to college back 15 years ago are going back to college,” Levin said. “Part of it is that the percentage of women has gone up and the percentage of men hasn’t necessarily gone down.”

Majors that are predominantly female include nursing, foods and nutrition, psychology, biology, communications and English, according to institutional research.