Forty-two percent of the incoming class at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) will be women, marking an all-time high since women were first admitted in 1970. Though more women than men are enrolling in college, schools that specialize in science, technology, and engineering have higher percentages of men in their student bodies.
At CalTech, 87 of the 206 first-year students are women. Thirty-seven years ago, when women were first admitted, they comprised 14 percent of the first-year students. Six years ago, that number grew to 36 percent, but then fell to as low as 28.5 percent last year.
The school says that the numbers have not been growing as a result of lower admission standards or affirmative action, but because of CalTech’s active recruitment of women. “The more women we have on this campus, the better it is for everybody,” CalTech Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Erica O’Neal told the Los Angeles Times. “It is better for women to not feel so isolated.” In addition to advancing women in the field, the school also aims to achieve a better gender balance for students’ “emotional learning,” the Los Angeles Times reports.