If you asked the average student to guess if LSU is a male or female dominated campus, many would incorrectly assume the answer is male.
There have consistently been more female students at the University for at least 14 years, according to the Fall Facts reports, provided by the University’s Office of Budget and Planning.
The 2004 report showed the gender population gap between students was around 1,400. However, there were over 2,000 more female students than male students in 2018, according to the 2018 Fall Facts report.
As the overall number of females enrolled at the University has increased, so has the number of female staff members. This trend includes administrative, professional, classified and other academic staff, according to the reports.
Not only are females just enrolling at the University, they also are successfully graduating and entering the work force. According to the LSU Media Center, a record-breaking 2,494 degrees were awarded to female students at the Spring 2019 Commencement Ceremonies.
While the increasing number of females on campus is highly celebratory, this trend has not always been this way. There were no female students admitted at the University from its founding as a military academy in 1860 to 1904. University students were also taught by an all-male instructional staff until 1909.
In 1905, the first female student at the University, Olivia Davis, graduated. This was followed in 1909 by the hiring of the first female instructor, Mercedes Garig. These women paved the way for other females at the University, according to the Office of Diversity’s website.
Today, women’s place at the University is supported and celebrated. Since the establishment of the LSU Women’s Center in 1995 as a place to provide support and information, there have been numerous projects and programs to not only help women as students of the University, but also as individuals of the larger community.
One of the Women’s Center’s most successful projects has been the Period Project, which provides free emergency hygiene supplies at various locations across campus. Women’s Center Director Summer Steib said the center is expanding this project to include an emergency change of clothes to ensure that students have what they need to stay on campus and attend daily functions.
“Whenever we were researching the Period Project to see if this is a need on campus, what we were learning is that a significant number of folks on campus who menstruate, most of them identify as being women, were having to leave campus,” Steib said. “We know that when students leave campus, they don’t come back to campus.”
The Women’s Center, along with the Office of Diversity, have worked to ensure female students feel comfortable on campus and are able to seek help and information in times of need.
Fall 2019 enrollment data will be released on Sept. 18, according to the Office of Budget and Planning.