This report is the ninth in a series of Congressionally mandated biennial reports on the status of women and minorities in science and engineering. The primary purpose of this report is to serve as an information source on the participation of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering. It offers no endorsement or recommendations on policies or programs. The report documents both short and long-term trends in the participation of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering education and employment.
Current data and historical trends from a number of National Science Foundation (NSF) surveys are reported, and also, where appropriate, findings from externally conducted research are cited. The report follows the chronological sequence of the educational system, then analyzes workforce participation.
Several major findings arise from an examination of data in this report.
- First, family income and education are related to the educational preparation and achievement of women and minority precollege students. For example, parental income is related to average scores on achievement tests. The higher proportion, in recent years, of women SAT test takers from lower income families could influence the average scores of women which tend to be lower on average than menís. Similarly, the higher proportion of minority achievement test takers from lower income families is related to lower average scores on these tests.
- Second, the number (and proportion) of women and minorities enrolling in and earning degrees in science and engineering is continuing to increase, whereas the number of white men doing so is decreasing.
- Third, access and accommodation continue to be crucial to participation of persons with disabilities in science and engineering. Although employed scientists and engineers with disabilities differ little from those without disabilities in field of employment, employment sector, primary work activity, and salary, persons with disabilities are underrepresented among those with degrees in science and engineering. Also, among those with degrees in science and engineering, they are underrepresented among persons employed in science and engineering.
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