Online Learning Is Poised to Help Women Succeed

How can eLearning improve gender equity in education?


Since 1970, more and more women have enrolled in colleges and universities, gradually overtaking men in admissions from 1988 onward, where they continue to lead today (NCES Stats).

But ultimately, women’s increased (and majority) presence in traditional higher education spaces isn’t guaranteed to translate into increased success post-education—as any woman who’s been subjected to the gender wage gap can tell you. Despite their significant lead (by 2018, 44.3% of students were women, compared to 37.6% for men), women continue to face unique, gender-based challenges in traditional classrooms. But why? Because the physical university experience is still unequal.

That’s because it’s not just about equality- it’s about equity, too (GWU Article).

It’s no secret that a great many industries experience a dearth of women workers, leaders, and C-suite members, which is a direct result of lingering inequalities and barriers in higher education. It’s also no secret that the bulk of home care and/or childcare falls to women. This “second shift” can create significant disadvantages for women trying to complete their higher education degrees (not to mention throughout their entire careers).

But online learning is poised to provide greater gender equity to women learners. Here’s how.

Greater Access

One way online learning is more accessible to women is their potential as “safe(er) spaces.” Studies show that women are much less likely to participate and ask questions in in-person academic discussions. Online learning environments provide a more equitable platform for questions, discussions, and collaboration, as many women report feeling more comfortable speaking up virtually. In fact, women report that online learning makes them feel more connected to their peers, aligns better with their educational goals, and helps