Guest lecture in Helsinki: “The nature of the gender gap in Higher Education”

By on 08.02.2016 in Guest lectures

Jón Torfi Jónasson, University of Iceland NordForsk Terje HeiestadJustEd member Professor Jón Torfi Jónasson, School of Education, University of Iceland, is currently visiting University of Helsinki through the  JustEd Mobility Fellowship.  Jón Torfi  is giving a guest lecture on Tuesday 9 February, at 14:00-15:30 at Psychologicum 229 (Siltavuorenpenger 1A, Helsinki).

The basis of the paper is the argument that the growth of Higher Education is most profitably described as exponential growth. Thus the notable gender difference is described by referring to the different growth coefficients of males and females, seen over long periods.

Typically, the growth rate for women is higher than for men, irrespective of the absolute numbers, and whether they refer to attendance or graduation rates. Thus the gender gap is no longer dependent on which gender shows higher absolute numbers, but which has the higher growth rate. Thus the difference can be stable even at times when the difference in absolute numbers is changing, even being reversed.

The gender patterns we refer to are fairly universal, but showing notable country differences. Using this perspective, it can be noted that these gender differences are remarkably stable over long periods. In the Nordic countries they reach far back into the 20th century and all the indications are that they will extend far into the 21st century, only being dampened by the gradual saturation of female attendance sometime near the middle of the century.

This will mean a notable increase in the difference in the absolute numbers between females and males during the next two or three decades. A corollary of the perspective presented here is that there is no “old” or “new” gender difference as is sometimes thought when looking at the gender reversal in absolute numbers in most systems.

The discussion will also connect to the other Nordforsk, Education for tommorrow project on HE.

Chair of the session: Ulpukka Isopahkala-Bouret, University of Helsinki

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Read more about Jón Torfi Jónasson.


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About the Author

About the Author: Journalist currently working as Communications Specialist at the Nordic Centre of Excellence "Justice through Education in the Nordic countries" and in NordForsk's programme "Education for Tomorrow". .


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