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Doctorates to examine the number of Ph.D.’s in science and engineering, and the Association of American Medical Colleges to examine the number of medical school graduates.

Ginther and Kahn’s definition of “women of color” excluded residents of countries other than the United States, and included U.S. residents who are African American, Hispanic, and Native American, and Pacific Islanders.

Outcomes Evaluated

Ginther and Kahn examined each stage of the academic pathway, from high school to full professor. They gave a snapshot of the most recent Survey of Doctorate Recipients data processed by the NSF, data from 2008 that were released in 2011.

Education pathways included:


Career pathways included:


Types of institutions included:

•   Minority-serving institutions (historically black colleges, tribal colleges, and institutions that grant more than 50 percent of degrees to a specific minority group)

•   Non-minority-serving institutions

•   Research I institutions, as defined by the 1994 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Research I institutions produce the majority of Ph.D. students.

Challenge of Small Sample Sizes

Ginther and Kahn reported that among the people in academic occupations related to science and engineering in 2008, there were approximately 2700 women of color, 4000 men of color, 26,000 white women, and 58,000 white men. They explained that the data on women of color had to be aggregated because the number of women of color in academia is so small compared to other groups. They noted that the statistics tend to express measurements in terms of percentages, and they cautioned conference participants about the misperceptions that can result from this. When the starting points are dramatically different—in this case, 2700 in one group and 58,000 in another—then all percentages represent numbers that are also dramatically different, but that can look deceptively similar. For example, if the number of white women in a given situation is 1000 and the number of women of color in that same situation is 100, then a result that occurs to the same percentage of women in each group occurs to dramatically different numbers of people. A situation affecting 15 percent of all women would affect 150

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