Women’s enrolment at university declined in 2020

The number of enrolments in Australian tertiary education has dropped in 2020, with the number of women engaging in study declining at a faster rate than men, writes Madeline Hislop for Women’s Agenda.

According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), female enrolment in tertiary education dropped by 86,000 when comparing May 2020 to May 2019. Comparatively, the number of male students dropped by much less, at just 21,200. Overall, Australians are studying less in 2020, with the total number of tertiary students dropping by 112,500 people over the same period. Women make up three-quarters of the overall student decline.

The ABS data comes from the Survey of Education and Work, run during the first two weeks of May 2020, and includes those studying at university and some vocational courses. The data shows that the nature of declining student enrolments in Australia is highly gendered, and it’s women over the age of 25 who have seen the greatest drop, by 59,200 enrolments. And while there are fewer younger men enrolled in 2020 than 2019, there has been an increase in the numbers of older men (over the age of 25) enrolled in study, up 26,000.
Full report on the Women’s Agenda site