More Women Than Ever Are in Business School, But…
Research has found that in 2021, a record number of women were enrolled in business schools across the country — but still, business schools lack gender parity. Only 41 percent of full-time students in business school programs are women; though this figure is an increase from the 39 percent of female students recorded in 2019, the fact remains that men continue to outnumber women in business school classrooms.
So, why are women enrolling in business programs in greater numbers, what can business schools do to reach gender parity, and why does gender equality matter in business school, anyway? Read on to find out.
Business Schools Are Trying to Recruit Female Students
The most obvious reason that more women are enrolling in business school is that business schools want more women to enroll. For more than a decade, business schools in general — and MBA programs in particular — have been putting more effort into recruiting female students. These recruitment efforts have included developing degree programs that better fit women’s needs and wants and educating potential female students more diligently on the benefits of business degrees.
The primary reason business schools are looking to recruit more female students is because in doing so, schools can increase the overall number of potential students who might pay tuition and fees. Business schools are businesses, after all. Still, because women benefit greatly from this recruitment push, there is little to criticize about this new business strategy.
Female Graduates Are Seeing Major Benefits
While education can significantly improve a professional’s career, business degrees are particularly impactful on the professional and personal trajectory of women. Studies have found that women with business degrees like a bachelor’s in business administration, find well-paying work much faster than women in other fields or women without degrees. Over 86 percent of female business school graduates receive an enviable job offer in less than three months after receiving their degrees. Those job offers include mid-level management positions as well as senior-level leadership positions. Perhaps most importantly, women’s starting salaries increase when they begin their careers with a business degree, though the amount of the increase depends largely on the level of their education, their field of specialization, their industry and more.
Business Schools Are Offering More Flexibility
Women tend to balance more responsibilities than their male counterparts, which is as true in business as in business school. Many female business school students are striving to maintain employment as they pursue their degree, which means business schools need to offer more flexibility to students looking to fit classes and coursework into an existing schedule. Fortunately, the rise of online education has made it easier than ever for women to improve their education credentials while earning income and managing any family responsibilities they might have.
Scholarships for Women Are More Widely Available
The cost of college tuition continues to rise, which can be a prohibiting factor in many women’s hopes of achieving professional success through valuable business school credentials. Fortunately, to improve the prospects of women, business schools and other organizations have increased the number of scholarships available to female students. To assist with tuition and classroom fees, women can search for available scholarships — though they will need to adhere to the rules of the scholarship to maintain their funding for the duration of their degree program.
Over the course of the COVID pandemic, gender equality in the workplace plummeted. Business lockdowns were more common amongst industries in which women have a much stronger presence in the workforce, and the immediate and desperate need for childcare caused many women to stay home even as businesses reopened. In this post-pandemic period, it is even more important that women achieve qualifications and credentials equivalent to those of their male peers.
It is notable that business schools are working to achieve parity — but until organizations follow suit, women will continue to see less success than their male business counterparts. Business schools, women in business and men in business need to work together to reach true gender equality in professional spaces, which will usher in a new age of innovation and growth for everyone.