Thursday, 20 January 2005

Gender splits in the classroom

Heidi Bond and Amber Taylor are looking around some of their law classes and finding them to be male-dominated. This got me to thinking of my classes this semester, for which I just received final rosters earlier today.

  • Intro to American Government: about 50–50 (I think I counted 17 male students out of 36).
  • Con Law II (catalog name: Civil Liberties): about 60–40 female (16 students).
  • Public Opinion: 75–25 male (8 students).
  • Directed Readings and Honors Thesis: 100–0 female (two students, one in each).

The college population is about 55–45 female, and the political science major seems to be around 60–40 female. Not really sure why public opinion is less popular than con law with female students; if anything, I’d have expected the opposite, since con law really only makes sense for the pre-law types, who tend to be male here. Then again, it could be a scheduling thing; the MW 2:45–4 timeslot is pretty empty at Millsaps, while more classes are offered during the 1–2:15/40 slot (so there are more conflicts).

One other oddity: before looking at the roster, I would have guessed that intro was a bit more skewed female. I think part of that is the middle of the lecture hall seems more female, and it’s difficult to have the full class in my field of vision, particularly with glasses (49 seats are crammed in a room that probably was originally designed for 30, so lecturing in there is almost like performing in the “round”).