|Science Resources Studies Division|
|Science and Engineering Bachelor's
Degrees Awarded to Women Increase
Overall, but Decline in Several Fields
by Susan T.
| A record number
of science and engineering (S&E) bachelor's degrees were awarded to women
in 1995. Women accounted for 47 percent of S&E bachelor's degrees awarded
in that year.
The number of women graduating in S&E was 47 thousand higher in 1995 than in 1985 while the number of men graduating in S&E was similar in both years (but with a decline in 1990). Over this period, the greatest growth in S&E bachelor's degree awards to women occurred from 1990 to 1995 (table 1).
Women from minority groups had higher percentage increases than white women. Among the minority groups, the increases for black women were less than those of the other groups. But some of the large percentage gainse. g., among American Indian womenstill reflect the very small numbers of degrees (chart 1).
About half of the bachelor's degree recipients in the biological sciences and social sciences were women; in psychology, 73 percent of degree recipients were women in 1995. These fields are the ones that maintained overall growth in the period 1985 to 1995 among both men and women (table 2).
Among bachelor's degree awards in many of the other S&E fields, there was not consistent growth from 1985 to 1995. For example, bachelor's degree awards in chemistry declined among both men and women from 1985 to 1990, then they began to increase among both groups to 1995. However, awards in mathematics and computer science declined among both men and women during the entire period. The declines in mathematics among women were not as great as those among men. The percentage decline in computer science was much larger among women (51 percent) than among men (28 percent) from 1985 to 1995.
Women accounted for 47 percent of mathematics bachelor's degree recipients in 1995, and of chemistry recipients, 42 percent. Among computer science bachelor's degree recipients, women comprised 29 percent. The lowest representation of women was in physics (18 percent), a field in which the bachelor's degree awards to women have been level since 1990.
This Data Brief was prepared by:
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