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The Effect of Title IX on Gender Disparity in Graduate Education

Nayoung Rim ()
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Nayoung Rim: United States Naval Academy

Departmental Working Papers from United States Naval Academy Department of Economics

Abstract: During the 1960s, there were essentially three career choices for women: nurse, secretary, or teacher. Graduate school admissions quotas largely prevented women from pursuing different career paths. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 removed this barrier by making gender discrimination in admissions illegal. This paper examines whether this policy was successful in reducing gender disparity in graduate education. I find a sharp and dramatic convergence of female versus male graduate degree fields coincident with the passage of Title IX. This distributional change occurred as females predominantly moved into male-dominated fields and does not seem to be driven by gender-specific preferences. Further, alternative explanations, including birth control pill access and abortion legalization, were gradual changes and cannot explain the large, national shift in graduate-field distribution that occurred immediately following Title IX. In addition to providing evidence of successful anti-discrimination legislation, this paper sheds new light on the factors responsible for the college gender gap reversal.

Pages: 41 pages
Date: 2017-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-gen and nep-his
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