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CULTURAL EVOLUTION AND GENDER ASYMMETRY IN TERTIARY EDUCATION: THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS REVISITED

RONALD S. IMMERMAN and WADE C. MACKEY
International Review of Modern Sociology
Vol. 28, No. 2 (Autumn 1998), pp. 93-111
Published by: International Journals
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41421158
Page Count: 19
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CULTURAL EVOLUTION AND GENDER ASYMMETRY IN TERTIARY EDUCATION: THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS REVISITED
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Abstract

The form and substance of any culture will change and evolve due to a myriad of independent variables : technology, subsistence technique, economic structure, communication systems, and shifts in types of media.Another variable -access to tertiary education by gender -is argued to be influential in the trajectory of any culture. If women are restricted or precluded from equal access to higher education, then the status-role complex of "mother" is, by default, magnified and birth rates would be expected to increase. If women have available access to higher education, then the status-role complex of "mother "will have to compete with those status-role complexes of occupation and career. Accordingly, birth rates would be expected to be lowered. Evidence is produced which supports the existence of this dynamic. It is further argued that, to the extent that the hypothesis being tested is true, a cultural feedback mechanism exists which systematically constricts female options over generations.

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