Degrees of Difference: Women, Men, and the Value of Higher Education, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Degrees of Difference

Women, Men, and the Value of Higher Education, 1st Edition

By Nancy S. Niemi


202 pages | 16 B/W Illus.

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This volume investigates the dissonance between the supposed advantage held by educated women and their continued lack of economic and political power. Niemi explains the developments of the so-called "female advantage" and "boy crisis" in American higher education, setting them alongside socioeconomic and racial developments in women’s and men’s lives throughout the last 40 years. Exploring the relationship between higher education credentials and their utility in creating political, economic, and social success, Degrees of Difference identifies ways in which gender and academic achievement contribute to women’s and men’s power to shape their lives. This important book brings new light to the issues of power, gender identities, and the role of American higher education in creating gender equity.


"Degrees of Difference is an immensely rich and powerful volume about the continuing and everyday power differentials between men and women, despite women's dominant scholastic performances throughout schooling. Niemi demonstrates her passion for education and carefully reveals the illusion of gender equity in education. This book is a must-read for all scholars who want to transform higher education to make it more equal and fair."

-Miriam E. David, Professor Emerita, Sociology of Education, Institute of Education, University College London

"In highly readable, thoroughly researched, and well-argued Degrees of Difference, Niemi debunks the simplicity of pervasive anti-feminist rhetoric in favor of more nuanced accounts of race and class intersections with gender. This book offers a passionate, persuasive, and by turns perceptive and prophetic thesis with which every social scientist, higher education administrator, and public policymaker needs to grapple if education is to truly become a route to social advancement. If you don't come away nervous about the future of higher education or disabused of the myth that we've achieved gender equity, you weren't reading closely enough."

-Marcus Weaver-Hightower, Professor and Chair, Educational Foundations & Research, University of North Dakota

Table of Contents


List of Figures and Tables



Chapter One College credentials as female disadvantage?

Chapter Two Power, patriarchy, and gender identity in higher education

Chapter Three We’ve been here before: Gendered realignments behind the ivy

Chapter Four The ambiguous "female advantage"

Chapter Five American men: Other places to be

Chapter Six Higher education, less power: Gender equity post-college

Chapter Seven A dream deterred?



About the Author


Nancy S. Niemi

New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Learn more about Nancy S. Niemi >>

Nancy S. Niemi is Director of Faculty Teaching Initiatives at the Center for Teaching and Learning at Yale University, USA.

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