Women profit from university

Degree leads to higher wage differential, explaining gender differences in post-secondary schools

A university degree is more profitable for women than men, explaining in part why women's participation in university has outpaced men's since the late 1970s, according to Statistics Canada.

The study, The Gender Imbalance in Participation in Canadian Universities, uses data from two Statistics Canada surveys to investigate the reasons for the differentials of growth in university attendance between 1977 and 2003.

Women made up 58 per cent of university students in 2004-2005, up from 56 per cent in 1994-1995 and 51 per cent in 1984-1985.

The study showed that both men and women with a university degree earn more money than their counterparts with a high school diploma. But this return on education has been consistently higher for women than for men since 1977.

Specifically, a woman with a university degree in 1977 earned $1.88 for each dollar earned by a woman with a high school diploma. The corresponding ratio for men was $1.63.

By 2003, women with a university degree earned $2.73 for every dollar earned by those with a high school diploma. The corresponding ratio for men was $2.13.

Between 1977 and 1992, the university premium for women was 16 per cent higher than for men and it increased to 22 per cent between 1993 and 2003, corresponding with an increase in the number of women attending universities.

Latest stories