Latinitas - A Strong Voice for Latina Youth

As I’m sitting in my freshman writing class, I look to my left to see two girls sitting beside me. I then look to other side to see another girl sitting at my right side. I look back to see that I’m surrounded by girls! Women are going to college in ever-greater numbers, shifting the male-female ratio from women being the minority at colleges in the 1970’s to women making up more than 54% of young adults enrolled in college. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2005 Population Survey, about 43% of women ages 18-24 were enrolled in college, compared to only 35% of young men in 2005.

Factors for this shift include girls doing better in high school, more emphasis on further education for women and a change in attitude from a society thinking that a woman’s role is at home cooking and cleaning to encouraging girls to continue their education and succeed at careers that men once dominated.

This statistic doesn’t mean higher standards for all women as the percentage of Hispanic females at college- lower than any other race- is at a startling 30%, meaning that only 1 out of 3 Hispanic girls are going to college. Not only are Hispanic girls still limited in their opportunities for further education but women in general still get paid significantly less than males in the same career fields and positions. So while we should celebrate that we have overcome a challenge to better education for females, we still have opportunities to increase equality between females and males.

None the less, the increase of girls at college has proved that we are just as capable- if not more- than our male counterparts. As compared to forty years ago, when we had more of a chance of getting married in our twenties than going to school, we have come a long way in improving living standards and opening opportunities for our gender.

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