Gay men may hold the key to closing the academic gender gap, study finds

'It is long past time to rewrite the rules of American masculinity,' University of Notre Dame sociologist Joel Mittleman wrote in a recent op-ed.

As the gender gap in American higher education widens to the largest it has ever been, gay men could hold the key to closing it, new research has found.

Roughly 52 percent of gay men age 25 or older in the U.S. hold a bachelor’s degree, according to new research published in the American Sociological Review, far higher than the national average of 36 percent.

The U.S. ranks ninth in the world in college completion, but, “if America’s gay men … formed their own country, it would be the world’s most highly educated by far,” Joel Mittleman, a University of Notre Dame sociologist and the study’s author, wrote in a recent Washington Post op-ed. Gay men are also “significantly overrepresented” among advanced degree holders in the U.S., Mittleman wrote, and, compared with straight men, are about 50 percent more likely to have earned an MD, JD or PhD.

Importantly, Mittleman notes that his findings are not limited to white gay men, and gay men consistently outpace straight men in college completion regardless of racial or ethnic background.

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