Exploring Trends in Gender Parity in Higher Education Enrolments 1970-2015
The Gender Parity index is one useful measure for capturing female participation and allows for trends to be captured and comparisons to be made between different national contexts. We divide OECD countries into three categories based on their score on the Gender Parity Index (GPI) in 1985: (1) Early Parity countries <1 (2) Later Parity countries 0.8-0.99 (3) Delayed Parity countries >0.8. We examine the extent to which system level features such as gross enrolment rate, distribution of enrolments by field of study and sex segregation by field of study are linked to scores on the GPI. We also explore whether features of the gendered labour market such as female labour force participation and pay inequalities explain differences in GPI scores. We critically evaluate the relationship between gender parity in higher education enrolments and issues of gender justice. Attention is paid to how variations in gender role attitudes and welfare regimes help explain both GPI trends, and differences within and across early, later and delayed parity countries.