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NSOPF samples only faculty, and this report concentrates on the subset that is in the natural sciences and engineering. Both NSF and NCES release special reports, which were also consulted.3

Data from professional societies were also examined, including the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which focuses on faculty, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which surveys its members.4 In addition, several discipline-oriented societies provided data from member surveys, for example, the Computing Research Association (CRA), the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Chemical Society (ACS), and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).5

Finally, the committee consulted studies conducted by individual universities (e.g., on gender equity, salary, or climate) and publications by individual researchers. An analysis of historical trends in the representation of women in academic science and engineering based on the SDR and NSOPF and a more extensive review of the research literature can be found in Appendix 3-1.


Evidence of women’s representation in science and engineering is often measured first in the attainment of undergraduate and graduate degrees.6 In 2004, 50.4 percent of all S&E bachelor’s degrees went to women.7 Women received the majority of bachelor’s degrees in the agricultural sciences, biological sciences, oceanography, and chemistry, and they were awarded more than 40 percent of the bachelor’s degrees in the earth sciences, mathematics and statistics, and atmospheric and other physical sciences, excluding physics.8

Of all S&E master’s degrees awarded in 2004, 43.6 percent went to women. They received the majority of master’s degrees in the agricultural and biological sciences and other physical sciences, excluding physics and astronomy. They were awarded over 40 percent of the master’s degrees in the earth sciences and oceanography, mathematics and statistics, and chemistry.9


See for example NSF (2004b).


For further details on the AAAS surveys, see Chander and Mervis (2001) and Holden (2004).


For further details see Byrum (2001), Ivie et al. (2003), Kirkman et al. (2006), Long (2000, 2002), Marasco (2003), and Vardi et al. (2003).


The percentage of women participating in science and engineering education, however, is lower than the corresponding percentage of women in the U.S. population of 18- to 30-year-olds. See Kristen Olson, Despite Increases, Women and Minorities Still Underrepresented in Undergraduate and Graduate S&E Education, NSF Data Brief, January 15, 1999 (NSF 99-320).


Note here S&E is defined as engineering, natural sciences, and the social and behavioral sciences.


Data tabulated by staff, derived from National Science Foundation WebCASPAR database.


Data tabulated by staff, derived from National Science Foundation WebCASPAR database.

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