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Women Scientists and Engineers
Minority Scientists and Engineers
Scientists and Engineers With Disabilities
Technical Notes
SIDEBAR: Women's Persistence in Science After Graduation
SIDEBAR: Are Marriage and Science Compatible for Women?
SIDEBAR: Measuring Disabilities for Persons in the Labor Force


Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are a smaller proportion of the science and engineering labor force than they are of science and engineering degree recipients. Women earned 43 percent of combined bachelor's, master's, and doctoral science and engineering degrees in 1993 (see appendix tables 3-25, 4-20, and 4-23) but were 22 percent of the science and engineering labor force. [1] (See appendix table 5-1.) Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians were 6 percent and persons with disabilities were 5 percent of the science and engineering labor force. (See appendix tables 5-2 and 5-3.)

As data in chapter 3 and chapter 4 show, the fraction of science and engineering degrees going to women and minorities has increased over time. Because the labor force is composed of many years' worth of degree recipients and because women and minorities were a smaller fraction of earlier years' degree recipients, one would expect women and minorities to be a smaller fraction of the labor force as a whole than they are of current degree recipients. Among those who received degrees since 1990, the fraction of the science and engineering labor force who are women and minorities is much larger: 32 percent are women, and 8 percent are black, Hispanic, or American Indian. (See appendix table 5-4.)

Even among the more recent graduates, one would not expect the proportion in the labor force to equal the proportion of degrees. Taxonomy differences in science and engineering education and employment make it difficult to compare participation in science and engineering education with participation in science and engineering employment. Some who receive degrees in what is counted as science and engineering and consider themselves to be employed in their field may not be counted as being employed in science and engineering occupations. As an example, some who receive degrees in sociology (a science degree) become social workers (a nonscience occupation). Because of these taxonomy differences, field differences among men and women science and engineering degree recipients may influence participation in the science and engineering labor force.

This chapter examines the participation and employment characteristics of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in the science and engineering labor force. Much of the data for this chapter come from NSF's SESTAT (Scientist and Engineer Statistics Data System) surveys. [2] The 1993 surveys are substantially different from those conducted in the 1980s in terms of the sample, question wording, and response rates. In most cases, therefore, it is not possible to present meaningful trend data. Data on science and engineering faculty come primarily from the NCES 1993 National Study of Postsecondary Faculty. See the appendix for more information on data sources.

[1] Includes science- and engineering-related occupations and postsecondary science and engineering teachers.
[2] Totals may vary from table to table because of differences in the population referred to in the table and because of "no reports."

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