Female Access To Education Isn't Enough

06/03/2017 11:59 am ET Updated Jun 07, 2017

As a female, I know how it feels to be told I don’t need education, or to be called intimidating because I have an education. It’s a very discouraging feeling. To be told that I am better off at home then in the work force, to be told I am better off being a mother or wife, then a doctor or engineer or teacher. Being a mother is one of the biggest blessing one can get, but it isn’t for all of us. Yes society, you read that right, being a mother isn’t for every female out there. So why do we only promote motherhood and not education? Because education is power, and society may not be ready for a nation with powerful females.

Today, an educated female is still an anomaly, and if you are a Hispanic or African American educated female, you are an even bigger anomaly. Though we have advanced culturally and societal wise in many areas of female rights, we are leaving one of the most important areas behind, female education. Access to female education is not enough in the U.S., we need to educate females on the importance and power of higher education. Despite females having access to education, only 26% of the workforce consist of women in STEM careers, this includes all races (”Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation”, 2011). Along with that, the participation of women in the workforce has declined since 2000 (”Women’s Bureau (WB) - Data & Statistics”, 2017) . One reason for this is because every year the labor force gets tougher. Today, Bachelor’s degrees are the new high school degrees, and Master degrees are the new Bachelor’s degrees. But as the labor force gets tougher, the societal and cultural expectations for women to obtain higher education remains stagnant. Lower expectations become, and stay, as the self-fulling prophecies for females. This is most prominent in African American and Hispanic races.

Only 4% of Hispanic females age 25 and older have a Master’s degree or higher. According to the Census (2015) only 15% of Hispanics age 25 or older obtain a Bachelor’s degree, with less than 32.7 percent being female. Only 22.5% of African Americans receive a Bachelor’s degree with less than 32% being female. This compares to 36% of Americans with a Bachelor’s degree with 32% being female. We have a gap of more than 10%, at least, between the number of females with higher education in the minority group, vs the majority group. Despite the access of education to all races, there is a disparity between females in higher education based on race.

One assumption for the lack of minority females in higher education is money, but this isn’t the case. Most of the females in the category of minority group also categorize as low income, along with their male counterpart. Approximately 60% of African American children are considered low income, based on the Federal Poverty Line (”U.S Education: Still Separate and Unequal”, 2015). Hispanic children are around the same percentage. This gives then them the opportunity to receive money for higher education, from the government, like the Pell Grant or income based grants and loans, as well as opportunities to need based scholarships. The U.S spends thousands on education yet, the numbers of females in higher education and the workforce has declined, if not remained stagnant, and continues on towards a downward slope.

2 important points can be made with these statistics, the decline in female minorities in higher education is not because of money or lack of access to education, it is because of lack of awareness about the importance of obtaining an education as a female. I come from a Hispanic family, my parents want to push me to be the doctor I have always wanted, but the lack of resources and knowledge of higher education has created obstacles. Our knowledge of higher education was close to being non existent, not out of choice but because of life circumstances. My parents did not have the opportunity or access to any education in Mexico. So this thing of higher education was foreign to us all. If it were not for my parents who emphasized education since I was little, being in higher education may have not been in my life plan.

It is predicted that the number of minority races in public elementary and secondary education will increase by 33% by 2033 (”U.S Education: Still Separate and Unequal”, 2015). Education is the best asset one can attain and put to work, and with the minority group consisting of such a large portion of the U.S. population, we need to emphasize the importance of education to females in the minority groups. So Betsy De Vos and Donald, I ask you pay attention to education (correctly), though that may be difficult for both of you for several reasons, I ask, as a female, that you not be intimidated by educated females but rather be inspired to pass education on.

Citations:

Education Attainment in the United States: 2015. (2017) (1st ed.).

U.S. Education: Still Separate and Unequal. (2015). U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 2 June

Women in STEM: A Gender Gap To Innovation. (2017) (1st ed.). Washington, DC. Retrieved from

http://www.esa.doc.gov/sites/default/files/womeninstemagaptoinnovation8311.pdf

Women’s Bureau (WB) - Data & Statistics. (2017). Dol.gov. Retrieved 3 June 2017, from https://www.dol.gov

/wb/stats/stats_data.htm

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