Gender Inequality in the Educational System

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In tertiary education in the past, and today still, there is a pressing admittance of university availability and accessibility for female students. As the quality and necessity of higher education gains more attention of education stakeholders in New Zealand and around the world, it brings to front the gender inequality in the tertiary sector in our society.

Gender difference has a long history dated back to the very beginning of human beings. The western creationists theorised that God took a rib from Adam and turned it into Eve. Regardless of the folk stories however, it appears to be a general belief that both western and eastern societies are centred at men. Among numerous factors behind human diversity, the distribution of education by sex is frequently argued to be a key determinant of gender inequality. In particular, female access to higher education represents a key indicator differentiating developed and developing countries. One of the striking features found within New Zealand tertiary education, is the prominence of women among college students. At Victoria University 2005, females made up 6944 of 12165 full time students, and 4589 of 8215 part time students giving a total of 11533 females compared to 8847 male students, 56.6% of the total student population (VUW Gender Studies Project Data). However, this representation significantly proportioned to the type and status of the study undertaken. It is only since the late 1960’s that women have had the ability to obtain tertiary education to any significant degree, and only the last decade that women have made up approximately half of the overall student population.

Higher education opportunities have received a lot of discussion in recent years. Classic studies of inequality in education typically have focussed on disparities of social class among men, and when gender inequality is discussed, it receives relatively limited attention. It is seen that gender disparities are highest at the...
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