Women presence in academia soar

October 5, 2017
Source: Benson AFFUL/thebftonline.com/Ghana
Women presence in academia soar

Women’s enrolment in tertiary institutions continues to soar after some affirmative interventions by various universities, particularly in competitive programmes.

Data from the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) shows a consistent increase in female enrollment in tertiary institutions across the country.

The B&FT’s analysis of the data shows that in 2012 the ratio for gender parity between men and women stood at 63.2 to 36.8 respectively, and in 2013 the ratio dropped marginally to 63:37.

The current statistics from the NCTE covers the 2014/15 academic year, where the ratio of women enrolment increased to 39.

Literacy rate has always been higher among males than females, right from the basic level. The Ghana Statistical Service reports that from eleven years and above literacy is higher for males, constituting 80%, than for females, which is 68.5%.

But the situation is improving, especially at the tertiary level where women’s enrolment has improved significantly in the last few years.

This, many girl-child education activists believe, is as a result of the various initiatives they have rolled out - coupled with government’s own commitment to enhancing the education of girls.

According to the United States’ Institute of Women’s Policy Research: “Women earn the majority of Bachelor’s degrees in business, biological sciences, social sciences and history. The same is true for traditional strongholds such as education and psychology”.

The number of women enrolled in undergraduate classes in the US has grown more than twice as fast as for men. Women outnumber men on campuses by at least 2 million, and the gap is growing.

But in Ghana, despite the progress, women in general still remain a minority in academia; analysis of data from NCTE indicates that there are still almost twice as many men as women studying in a university.

The small ratio of women in university is against the fact that women make up 52 percent of the population aged 15-49 -- the typical period of life a person is likely to be pursuing undergraduate or graduate studies in a university -- and it shows how much more needs to be done to retain girls in school up to the highest level they can attain.

The country's educational policy is to attain a 50/50 ratio in terms of gender parity in education. It is therefore encouraging to see a lot of women taking the bold step of enrolling in various tertiary institutions, which indicates the country can soon expect to attain equity in gender education.