As Spenser Allaway’12 was sitting in her business class, bored of equations and the monotone of her teacher’s voice, she looked around the classroom hoping for something else to catch her eye. As in most classes, she was faced with only a few male students to choose from and nothing worthy of distraction.

Fairfield University is just one of the many schools that enroll significantly more females than males. In fact, according to an NBC report, 57 percent of the nation’s college students are females. According to the profile of the class of 2013, 57 percent of the student body is female, while men make up 43 percent.

“I don’t think it’s a decision someone came up with,” said Jim Fitzpatrick, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs at Fairfield University and alumni of the class of 1970, “The reality is that the women applicants are a little bit more qualified than male applicants.”

The higher profile of women can be seen in other ways. The women’s sports programs are much stronger due to Title IX, Women’s Studies being offered as a major and three women holding Vice President jobs is something that would never be dreamt of when Fairfield began.

Judith M. Dubai, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, said Fairfield’s specific offerings help attract more women. “There is a range of academic programs that appeal to women in the arts and sciences college, nursing school and the business school,” she said.

It’s a big change since the establishment of Fairfield University as an all male school. It wasn’t long ago, in the all male era, that the rules of Fairfield were strict, with only one female visit per month from 2 to 4 p.m., according to Fitzpatrick. It left the student body heading for New York, with its many women’s colleges and then-lower drinking age.

While male students had to work hard 40 years ago to find a mate, the surplus of women makes it easier now. “It’s awesome. It’s one of the main reasons I’m here,” said Jonathan Raj ‘13.

Professors say females often seem to dominate the classrooms, in numbers at least. In introductory journalism classes last year, women held 89 percent of the seats.

The trend can be seen outside of the classrooms as well. At The Mirror, five of the six section editors are women.

Dr. David P. Schmidt, the associate professor of business ethics at Fairfield University, reported that his classes tend to consist of more females than males. Furthermore, “While we do have excellent male students, almost always the very best students are women,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt recognized the potential for gender bias in classrooms if he calls on men more often than women. To avoid this natural tendency, he resorts to writing the names of each of his students on a note card and randomly draws from the pile for participation.

Other schools struggle with the issue as well. One writer for the University of Central Florida’s newspaper said, “if the trend continues and girls consistently perform better than their male counterparts, gender balance could be an issue that plagues all schools, even the largest universities, forcing them to choose between a primarily female student body or having different admissions standards for men and women.”

From 2000 to 2009, Boston College, another Jesuit school, accepted 429 more females than males, according the BC fact book.

Gender bias can exist in other areas. A study done by Rutgers University found severe bias in the hiring process. It consisted of a collection of video clips of different interviews with personalities of women and men looking to be hired.

“I had no idea that there was such a negative response to women with stronger, more assertive personalities,” said Anthony Younes, a student in the Graduate School of Education. “You would think employers would be grateful to have such great applicants.” Younes’ quote was featured in the February 2009 issue of University Wire in the article “Rutgers Study Reveals Gender Bias in Hiring Process.”

The prejudice in the hiring process could potentially be linked to why there are such high numbers of women attending universities, but not getting jobs after graduation.

“There are so few women in leadership roles, but so many more women in organizational roles,” added Dobai.

While the gender imbalance produces problems, officials say it is difficult to say that any changes will be made in the near future.

“The bottom line is that we want smart, engaged students, whether they are male or female,” Schmidt said. “If women are in fact the best students, as a guy, you should be happy to be around people like that.”

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