If there is anything that shows we’ve pushed higher education on too many young adults who aren’t prepared for something challenging such as engineering or finance, it’s the fact that the number of people walking around with degrees in Gender (read: Women’s) Studies has gone up 300% since the 1990’s and is still increasing.
The problem isn’t with gender studies, in general. The university is a setting where a plethora of ideas one might not be exposed to in the greater world are experienced and discussed. But we are talking about degrees that cost tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, to do what?
“When people with this degree and this background go out into the world, they have a really great tool set to be be able to understand and recognize different problems and obstacles affecting different people in our society,” Madden said. “I think there are a lot of people that think this field of study is about having pity for women or complaining about all the things that are wrong with our world, but the main goal is to help find ways to overcome these things in the real world.”
That’s lovely, but the average college student is graduating with $37,000 in student loan debt — or not graduating and still ending up with more than half that.
In the meantime, the United States is looking at a 10 million worker deficit in skilled trades. Jobs that pay well enough to be able to raise a family and don’t leave young people with a mountain of debt to overcome before they can even start said family.
What does Ms. Madden see in her future after studying up on gender issues for four years?
After graduating, Madden said she wants to use her degree to work for a non-profit organization in hopes of assisting women affected by sexual assault.
“I do have job opportunities, I do have skills, I do have a college degree that is meaningful,” Madden said. “I honestly think that the more [women’s and gender studies majors] that enter the world with this knowledge and positively impact communities, the better understood, perceived and appreciated the field will be over time.”
So four years and tens of thousands of dollars later, she feels prepared to work for a non-profit. But with a “meaningful” degree, rather than a valuable one.
America is truly in a sorry spot if these are the types of skills and degrees we are promoting among young adults in 2017.
The push that every graduating high school student should go to college is a ticking time bomb. And the number of degrees being given out in topics like gender studies in greater numbers than are warranted, rather than encouraging trade work or other opportunities, is a long-term problem America is facing that must be addressed sooner rather than later.