• Report

The Educational Progess of Women (NCES 95-768)


Smith, T. M., & Klein, S. (1995). The Educational Progess of Women (NCES 95-768). (Findings from The Condition of Education 1995: No. 5). Washington, DC: National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES); U.S. Department of Education.


Over the past two decades, women have made substantial educational progress. The large gaps between the education levels of women and men that were evident in the early 1970s have essentially disappeared for the younger generation. Although they still lag behind males in mathematics and science achievement, high school females on average outperform males in reading and writing, and take more credits in academic subjects. In addition, females are more likely than males to attend college after high school, and are as likely to graduate with a postsecondary degree.

It remains to be seen, however, how these gains in educational attainment will be rewarded in the marketplace. In 1993, the average earnings of female high school graduates aged 25–34 were more than one-third lower than those of male graduates of the same age. Similarly, female college graduates earn, on average, salaries that are 80 percent of what their male counterparts receive. Furthermore, these large gender differences in earnings persist after taking educational attainment and prose, document, and quantitative literacy skills into account.