Since the 1960s and 1970s, participation in postsecondary education has increased considerably. In 1965, for example, fewer than 6 million students were enrolled in U.S. higher education institutions; by 2009, however, that figure exceeded 20 million (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2011). This expansion is due in large part to the advent of federal and institutional policies (e.g., Title IX, affirmative action, and the advent of federal financial aid) intended to facilitate college access for diverse student populations (Astin & Oseguera, 2004). Indeed, much of the growth in college enrollment over the past several decades has been driven by the rising college enrollment among women of all races (NCES, 2011). In 1979, the number of women enrolled in some form of postsecondary education exceeded that of men for the first time. Since then, college enrollment rates among women continued to surpass those of men, leading to the increasingly severe gender disparities that persist today.
Malcom, L.E. and Malcom, S.M. (2011), "Chapter 7 Reflecting and Defying Tradition: African-American Women in STEM", Frierson, H.T. and Tate, W.F. (Ed.) Beyond Stock Stories and Folktales: African Americans' Paths to STEM Fields (Diversity in Higher Education, Vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 131-147. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-3644(2011)0000011011
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