Talk about Venus rising.
First, the American Council on Education reports that women are holding steady at 57% of college enrollment. Then, the Department of Labor announces that women have tipped the scales on the job, making up 51% of the workforce for the first time ever.
Naturally, it was only a matter of time before one led to the other but, seriously, what's going on with boys today?
In a recent interview with USA Today, Richard Whitmire, author of Why Boys Fail, attributed part of the problem to decades-old education reform that increased the importance of verbal skills. According to Whitmire, girls adapted...boys didn't. (Ladies -- no need to grab the pitchfork every time a study claims we talk more than men, okay?)
Obviously, the most troubling side effect of the gender gap in college isn't what's happening today, but what will happen 10-20 years from now. As an ambitious female, I'm all for the advancement of women in the workplace. I admit I get a little bristly at the thought of only 15 women at the helm of Fortune 500 companies; however, I don't want proverbial "Girl Power" to be the end result of "Boy Failure."
So, guys, it looks like you need an intervention.
I know if you're in college right now, this lopsided ratio is playing in your favor. You probably have more dates. Short term, that's a good thing. Long-term, though, women like me are going to eat your lunch on the job. What can you do?
Write Better / Speak Better. As a professor, I see students struggle with communication skills all the time. If you're one of them, seek help now while you still have (free) resources available. Don't wait until you get out in the workforce and risk being lapped by peers who are more advanced in these areas. With sites like CAREEREALISM reporting there are six job seekers for every one job available, now is not the time to enter the market with a disadvantage.
Volunteer. A lot of folks will tell you that great leaders are born, not made. Rubbish. Leadership, like everything else, simply requires practice and one of the best ways to get it is by volunteering in your community. There you can make rookie mistakes with minimal career damage, learn to motivate with a carrot (not a stick), and develop a host of other skills that will translate into the workforce.
Finally (and most importantly) graduate. If you don't, prepare to earn approximately 40% less over the course of your career than those who do. Oh yeah, and remember those ladies who are all over you? Be nice to them now because they just might be your boss later.