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New Study Examines Status of Jersey Girls [AUDIO]

There’s a song about them and now there’s a report about them: Jersey Girls. Lakewood-based Georgian Court University released the findings of a two-year study examining the status of these girls, ranging in age from 10 to 19.

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Girls on the beach in Ocean City
Girls on the beach in Ocean City (William Thomas Cain, Getty Images)

For the most part those findings, which examine the gains and challenges of girls living in the country’s most densely populated state, are positive. However, study coordinator Dr. Thomas Crawley, assistant dean of the School of Education at Georgian Court, said there are some very real concerns as well.

Crawley said the study, led by a research team of faculty volunteers, looked at numerous factors such as education, recreation opportunities, employment and interaction with law enforcement.

The study found that Jersey girls make up the majority on college and university campuses throughout the state, earning six out of every 10 degrees. Crawley said those gains translate to the graduate school level as well.

Women are also more aware about issues related to crimes against women and birth control, and there are laws in place in New Jersey that help women attain pay and career equity, according to Crawley.

However, he said chief among the concerns is poverty, especially in the state’s urban areas.

“Poverty is a huge factor in education, and education is a factor in future wealth and the ability of employment and those kinds of things,” Crawley said. “You can begin to see it; it’s generational.”

While girls make up the majority in higher education, they consistently ranked 30 percent lower than men on the SATs, according to Crawley.

“Personally, I feel there needs to be greater attention paid to mathematical (and) science opportunities for young women in the schools, because even though they’re going to college more, I’m not so sure that they’re electing those majors,” Crawley said.

Although the study showed that alcohol consumption among girls ages 13 to 18 was at a 10-year low, he said the study shows there’s a tremendous amount of substance abuse of prescription medications and heroin among young women.

Crawley said he’s hoping that others who are looking at policy and creating opportunities for women will consider the information that they put together in the study. He also said, now that GCU began enrolling male students, he hopes that they will one day do a comparative study on the status of both boys and girls in New Jersey.

See the “The Status of Girls in New Jersey” report by clicking here.

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