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The growing diversity of the S&E labor force can be easily documented. The S&E labor force in 1990 contained proportionately more women (22 percent compared with 13 percent) and racial/ethnic minorities (14 percent compared with 10 percent) than it did in 1980. (See figure 8-1.) Only the population of individuals with work disabilities declined from 1980 to 1990 (from 3.3 percent to 2.7 percent of the S&E population), which parallels a decline in the total labor force reporting work disabilities (from 11.8 percent to 10.4 percent).

Figure 8-1

Women and minority men comprised 35 percent of the civilian S&E labor force in 1990. Although considerably lower than the comparable figure of 57 percent for the total civilian labor force, this statistic is considerably above the 24 percent level reported for 1980.
Members of the S&E labor force possessing doctorates in S&E fields from U.S. universities display a degree of diversity similar to that in the larger S&E population. Thirty-one percent of the doctoral S&E population were women or racial/ethnic minority group members in 1991; 4.9 percent had functional disabilities.

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