Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 28.djvu/624

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606
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

HEALTH AND SEX IN HIGHER EDUCATION.
By JOHN DEWEY, Ph. D.,

INSTRUCTOR IN PHILOSOPHY, MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY.

IT may not generally be known that the alumnæ of the more important centers of female higher education in this country have an organized intercollegiate association for the promotion of woman's education and the study of questions regarding her training. This association has justified its existence, if justification were necessary, by the inquiries which it has made regarding the health of those women who have pursued college courses. The importance of the results thus obtained has led to their incorporation in the "Current Report of the Massachusetts Labor Bureau." For the first time the discussion is taken from the a priori realm of theory on the one hand, and the haphazard estimate of physician and college instructor on the other. The returns have the value of all good statistics: they not only enable us to come to some conclusion upon the main point discussed, but they are so full and varied that they suggest and mark the way toward the discussion of a large number of other hardly less important questions. The figures, in short, call up as many problems as they settle, thus fulfilling the first requisite of fruitful research.

Pursuing this line, we shall first state the general character of the investigation followed and conclusions reached; and, secondly, isolate a few special problems for more detailed though brief treatment. The result may be summed up in the words of the report, as follows: "The female graduates of our colleges and universities do not seem to show, as the result of their college studies and duties, any marked difference in general health from the average health likely to be reported by an equal number of women engaged in other kinds of work. It is true that there has been, and it was to be expected that there would be, a certain deterioration in health on the part of some of the graduates. On the other hand, an almost identical improvement in health for a like number was reported, showing very plainly that we must look elsewhere for the causes of the greater part of this decline in health during college-life. If we attempt to trace the cause, we find that this deterioration is largely due, not to the requirements of college-life particularly, but to predisposing causes natural to the graduates themselves, born in them, as it were, and for which college-life or study should not be made responsible."

Through some oversight the statement is made that the returns include statistics from every higher institution in the United States open to women; while, as a matter of fact, it includes a not comparatively large number. The institutions represented, however, are typical. The data are contained in the following table: