Demographic data from Western University, Fanshawe College give unique look at what male, female students study

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If you’re a man entering Western University’s nursing program or a woman entering aviation studies at Fanshawe College, you won’t have much company.

Those traits belong to the rarest of first-year students at London’s post-secondary institutions, according to demographic data from the schools that show more of the same in programs traditionally dominated by each gender.

“I think maybe it’s because it’s always been that way, so maybe it’s sort of because the intimidation factor,” Maddy McCoy, a third-year business student at Western, said about why the gender imbalance may exist in some programs.

Three out of every four first-year engineering students at Western are men, while programs such as nursing, media, information and technoculture and health sciences are overwhelmingly female-heavy.

“I think there might be a stigma towards a male music major, compared to, say, business, or engineering,” McCoy said.

Nursing and health sciences programs at Fanshawe follow the same trend, while only one out of every 10 students in the college’s aviation and transportation technology programs are women.

Of Western’s 5,100 full-time first-year students, 42.7 per cent are men. Women have outnumbered men at the university every year since at least 1999, the earliest Western began tracking gender data.

At Fanshawe, 51.8 per cent of the college’s 9,500 first-year students are men.

The average first year student is, at Western, an 18-year-old London woman studying general sciences, and, at Fanshawe, a 22-year-old London man studying business.

At Western, 1,610 students are studying social sciences, half of whom are in the management and organizational studies branch, while 1,520 students are studying general sciences. Music is the university’s smallest program with only 105 students.

Fanshawe’s biggest first-year program is business, with 1,520 students. Its smallest is transportation technology, which has 235 students this year.

London was the city most represented by incoming students at both institutions.

The most popular countries where students are coming to Western from outside of Canada are, in order, China, India, South Korea, the United States, Pakistan and Syria. Fanshawe’s top five are India, China, Korea, Vietnam and Brazil. 

Male-dominated Western programs:

-Engineering (75.2 per cent)

Female-dominated Western programs:

-Nursing (86 per cent)

-Media, information and technoculture (79.4 per cent)

-Health sciences (70.4 per cent)

-Arts and humanities (68.6 per cent)

-Social science (60.8 per cent)

Male-dominated Fanshawe programs:

-Aviation (92 per cent)

-Transportation technology (90 per cent)

-Applied Science and technology (87 per cent)

-Building technology (86 per cent)

-Contemporary media (68 per cent)

Female-dominated Fanshawe programs:

-Community studies (86 per cent)

-Nursing (85 per cent)

-Health sciences (74 per cent)

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