Click for next page ( 17


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 16
CHAPTER 2 THE SUPPLY OF WOMEN DOCTORATES Since the turn of the century, the numbers of Ph.D.s awarded to women have increased continuously and, in the last decade, very steeply. This trend has been overshadowed in some periods, especially between World War II and the mid-1960s, by the steep rise in male Ph.D.s which resulted in large measure from the broadened educational participation of men made possible by the G.I. Bill and its successors after the Ko- rean and Vie tnar. wars. While a few women were also entitled to such benefits, over 97 percent of the World War II veterans who received such aid were men. About one-quarter of all science Ph.D.s graduating in 1950 had received primary financial support from the G.I. Bill (Harmon, 1968~; in 1981, 4-9 percent of new male science and engineering Ph.D.s and 0-.5 percent of women reported support from this source (Summary Reports, 1981~. As a consequence, in part, of this disparate support pattern, the proportion of Ph.D.s granted to women in each decade reached an historic low in the 1950s and did not again match or exceed the pre- vious high levels of the 1920s and 1930s until the last decade (Figure 2.1~. The likelihood is considerable that the significantly lower avail- ability of financial aid for women rather than the frequently cited baby boom was primarily responsible for their relative and temporary decline in the Ph.D. pool. The numbers of women earning Ph.D.s in the sciences have increased steadily since 1970 while the numbers of men have declined (Table 2.1~. Overall Ph.D. production peaked in 1973 and has stabilized in the last few years at around 18,000 per year. In the life and social sciences, total numbers of Ph.D.s continued to rise during most of the 1970s, which can be attributed entirely to the increase in female doctorates. The physical sciences have witnessed a substantial decline in doctoral production since 1971; the additional numbers of women graduates have not been large enough to offset the drop for male graduates from 5400 to 3600 annually. Total production of engineering doctorates has also been declining since the early 1970s, although not as steeply as for the physical sciences. The number of women earning Ph.D.s in engineering is, despite a high rate of increase, still very low--only 100 women in 1981, compared 2.1

OCR for page 16
with nearly 2400 men. However, a dramatic surge in female enrollments in engineering schools is now taking place. ~ The time lag before this increase can be expected to appear in the supply of women doctorates is 8-9 years, and thus at a date in the l990s. 2 In 1981 the percentages of women among new doctorates awarded were: physical sciences, 12 percent i engineering, 4 percent i life sciences, 26 percent; and social sciences, 36 percent. For all science and engineering fields combined, nearly 4, 400 women earned Ph. D . s in 1981, representing 23 percent of the new recipients Minority women in s cience Of the 4,359 women receiving doctorates in science and engineering in 1981 , 595 were minority group members (Table 2.1A), of whom Asians were the . . . largest single group-- 313 . Many of these women are presumably foreign citizens who completed graduate school with temporary visas and are returning to their home countries. (Fifty-six percent of recent Asian Ph. D.s are foreign citizens with temporary visas. 3) Among Asian women doctorates a relatively high proportion graduated from physical sciences and engineering departments. Fifteen percent of the recent women Ph.D. s in the physical sciences were Asian. Black women made up only 4 percent of all women receiving Ph. D. s ~ n science and engineering in 1981. Their numbers have increased from 67 to 161 since 1974, 4 the first year for which data are available. Institutional origins A previous report of this Committee noted that women scientists receive thei r graduate training in roughly the s ame mix of institutions as men. 5 Table 2. 2 repeats the analysis with information for the most recent doctorate recipients. In the majority of fields, the proportions iThe percent of women in freshmen engineering classes was: Fall 1973, 4. 7 percent; Fall 1977, 11.1 percent i and Fall 1981, 15. 8 percent. (Engineering Manpower Commission, unpublished data) Those entering college in Fall 1981 who complete the BA and go on to graduate school will receive the Ph. D. in approximately 1991. 3Sy;rerson, 1981, p. 38. 4Doctorate Records File, National Research Council, unpublished data. 5 Climbing the Academic Ladder, p. 31. ~ . . 2.2

OCR for page 16
of men and women Ph.D.s who had graduated from highly rated departments5a are similar. In physics, women are somewhat less likely and in micro- biology and psychology, somewhat more likely than men to have earned their doctorates from prestigious departments. The only field showing a substantial sex difference among 1976-1980 PhoD.s is mathematics: 46 percent of the men, compared with 37 percent of the women received their graduate education from a highly rated department. It would be instructive to examine the distribution of recent men and women doctorate recipients for the 27 mathematics departments rated as "distinguished" or "strong" to determine whether this pattern is explained by a scarcity of women students in particular departments, or whether this statistical bias exists throughout the group. The reader wishing more detailed data on both doctoral and bacca- laureate origins of male and female Ph.D.s is directed to the report. A Century of Doctorates. The appendices provide a unique listing of individual institutions ranked as Pho Do producers within field and sex for various time periods. Age at Ph.D. Among recent doctorates in science and engineering, women typically complete their degrees at about the same age as men--31.0 for women and 30.3 for men. The median age at receipt of the doctorate varies widely according to field, with chemists and sociologists at the low and high ends of the range for both sexes (Figure 2.2~. The only disciplines showing a marked gender difference are medical sciences and engineering. In medical sciences, females are typically older than males receiving doctorates in the same year, with median ages of 33~7 and 30.3 respectively. An earlier report analyzing the graduates of the last 15 years noted that the standard deviations of age at Ph.D. are greater for women; the age spread for women in medical sciences was in fact greater than for any other science field, and was noticeably skewed at the upper age ranges,6a suggesting that for a portion of these women there are forces at work which have slowed their academic progress compared with their male counterparts. One might be quick to attribute this observation to marital or family constraints. However, 5aBased on reputational ratings of graduate faculty, as reported in Kenneth D. Roose and Charles J. Andersen, A Rating of Graduate Programs, American Council on Education, Washington, D.C., 1970. 6 Harmon, 1978. 6aIbid., p. 53. 2.3

OCR for page 16
FIGURE 2.1 Percent (and number) of science and engineering doctorates granted to women by field and decade, 1920-1979 Physical Sciences 30 O~ 25 ~n 20 15 c~ o IL o 10 ~ 5 z u~ O LLJ L1J o O 25 llJ ~: LL c~ r ~N ~) t~ O oo C ~CD _ _ r ~ oo C~ _ _ . r~ 1 1 1 1 1 1 O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ 0m 0= ~ N ~) ~ ~ d lD LO CO CO r- 1- a) a) C5) ~ a) CO C5) a) CO C5) a) o) Life Sciences 30 15 10 5 _ _ _ _ _ 00 ~co 00 00 (D ~ r ~r ~0 _ _ _ _ _ o o - o 1 1 1 1 0 ~ 0 ~ 0 cs C~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ (D C9 ~ r~ SOURCE: Doctorate Records File, Englneerlng LL ~ 30 o o 25 cn ~ 20 ~: o c~ ~O 10 LL o 15 ~ 5 z u~ c~ LL LLJ o o 30 25 ~n ~,\ ~u o o ~ 10 IL o z LL ~O U] O o) O a) O a) O a) O a) O a) c~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ c~ co ~ r~ C5) ~ CD Social Sciences _ _ ~0 co oo _ _ - o - - o ~D - - c~ - l 1 1 1 1 0 ~ 0 ~ 0 cs) 0 ~ 0 c~ c~ ~ ~ ~ ~t ID LO CS C53 National Research Council 2.4

OCR for page 16
TABLE 2.1 Number of science and engineering doctorates awarded by sex and field, 1970-1981 Total science & engrg. . Physical Engi- Life Social . . . . sciences neerlng sciences sciences ... . WOMEN 1970 1,660 320 15588737 1971 1,995 341 15715924 1972 2,173 367 227311,053 1973 2,542 382 468681,246 1974 2,730 384 338671,446 1975 3,005 403 529501,600 1976 3,167 420 549591,734 1977 3,298 430 749571,837 1978 3,530 439 531,0831,955 1979 3,861 496 621,1942,109 1980 4,099 502 901,3422,165 1981 4,359 502 991,4432,315 MEN 1970 16,545 5,308 3,419 3,989 3,829 1971 17,506 5,398 3,483 4,360 4,265 1972 17,431 5,171 3,481 4,221 4,558 1973 17,079 4,929 3,318 4,140 4,692 1974 16,400 4,592 3,114 3,967 4,727 1975 16,069 4,454 2,950 3,955 4,710 1976 15,646 4,089 2,780 3,921 4,856 1977 15,025 3,949 2,569 3,816 4,691 1978 14,442 3,754 2,370 3,808 4,510 1979 14,401 3,803 2,428 3,887 4,283 1980 14,072 3,612 2,389 3,983 4,088 1981 14,303 3,666 2,429 4,Ol8 4,190 aFiscal year is used throughout the tables in this chapter. Fiscal 1980, for example, represents the period July 1, 1979 through June SOURCE: Syverson, 1981, p. 4. 2.5 year 30, 1980.

OCR for page 16
TABLE 2.1A Number of science and engineering doctorates awarded in 1981 by sex, racial-ethnic group, and fielda Total, Racial-ethnic science Physical Engi- Life Social group & engr. sciences peering sciences sciences WOMEN TOTAL4,359502991,4432,315 White3,499371581,1461,924 Asian313773112679 Black16111--42108 American Indian8----26 Puerto Rican194--510 Mexican201--316 Other Hispanic741332533 Other ~ unknown26525794139 MEN TOTAL14,3033,6662,4294,0184,190 White10,3882,6761,3413,0793,292 Asian1,917552773357235 Black4355859135183 American Indian23249~ Puerto Rican2610556 Mexican9813183136 Other Hispanic337596913673 Other & Unknown1,079296160266357 aNon-U.S. citizens with temporary visas are included. SOURCE: Doctorate Records File, National Research Council. 2.6

OCR for page 16
Percent of science and engineering doctorates awarded to men and women from highly rated departments,a for selected fields, 1970-1980 Total doctorates awarded, Percent from Year and field all departments ~ hly rated departmentsa of doctorateWomen Men Women Men 1970-1975 Mathematics612 6,722 42 46* Physics282 8,225 39 46* Chemistry1,110 10,786 45 45 Biochemistry748 2,932 42 44 Microbiology534 1,797 40 29* Psychology3,974 10,147 39 32* Anthropology556 1,251 55 52 Sociology896 2,759 47 40* Economics383 4,876 49 39* 1976-1980 Mathematics569 3,719 37 46* Physics263 4,640 41 48* Chemistry1,038 6,805 44 45 Biochemistry768 2,340 39 42 Microbiology512 1,220 34 30* Psychology5,731 9,386 29 25* Anthropology798 1,167 43 41 Sociology1,147 2,157 36 38 Economics467 3,628 39 39 Based on ratings of "distinguished" or "strong" graduate faculty, as reported in Kenneth D. Roose and Charles J. Andersen, A Rating of Graduate Programs, American Council on Education, Washington, D.C., 1970. *Sex difference in percent from highly rated departments is statistically significant at .05 level. SOURCE: Doctorate Records File, National Research Council 2.7 /

OCR for page 16
FIGURE 2.2 Median age at Ph.D. by field and sex, 1981 science and engineering doctorates . , Field ~ Doctorates ~a~emato PhYsics Chemistry ~ . carte Sciences Eying Agricultural Sciences Medical Sciences Biological Sciences PSYchoIOgV Economics SociolOgY/ Anthropology 2g5 2g I 1 Women Men I I I I I 1 1 i 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 20 22 24 2G SOURCE: Syverson' 1982' PEe 5 3-56 e 2.8 28 30 32 34 .1 2g.G 2g.1 28.4 ~0 ~ ^~.w 2g.g 31.1 2g.0 30.6 30.s ~1 o ~ . go . , 303 2g.5 2g,S 31.7 31.2 30.1 31.0 33.5 33.0

OCR for page 16
only 47 percent of the new women Ph.D.s in medical sciences were married, a somewhat lower proportion than in chemistry, where the female graduates are comparatively young at the time of Ph.D. It is probable that this large age differential arises from different field distributions by sex within the medical sciences (see also p. 2.9 and p. 3.2~; more than a quarter of the women in these fields obtain Ph.D.s in nursing, and are likely to have spent some period of time in professional practice before undertaking doctoral work. Such a conclusion is also supported by the fact that 72 percent of the women but only 55 percent of the men have taken a master's degree In engineering the sex pattern is reversed: women typically receive their Ph.D. at a considerably younger age than do men. Here an explanation for a sex difference is not apparent, especially since the women are more likely to have switched into engineering from other baccalaureate fields, a pattern which would be expected to have prolonged their graduate study. The significance of sex differences in age at receipt of the Ph.D. is not entirely clear in any case; traditionally, earning the doctorate at an early age has been seen as an indication of high interest, motiva- tion, and ability. However, even cursory inspection of the median BA-to-Ph.D time lapse by field and sex for different institutions (see Harmon, Table 42) shows very wide variations among the leading univer- sities; the difference in median time lapse between two institutions of equal eminence is frequently greater than the sex difference in either one. Such variations may be accounted for by differing policies among institutions with respect to residence requirements, financial support, TA duties, and other factors. Thus sex differences in age at receipt of the doctorate can be influenced markedly by differential sex distributions among specific departments even within given categories of quality. Graduate school support patterns Support patterns are strikingly similar for recent male and female graduate students in science and engineering departments. Within fields, there is very little difference in the percentages of men and women who held research assistantships or teaching assistantships. The most pronounced change in financial aid over recent years is the reduced availability of fellowships, which has been found to have affected both sexes about evenly. Medical sciences is somewhat of an exception. The women doctorates are twice as likely as the men (26 percent versus 12 percent) to report 7Syverson, 1981, pp. 32-35. Ahern and Scott, 1981, pp. 6-7. 2.9 7

OCR for page 16
personal funds (i.e., own earnings, spouse's earning, or family contri- butions) as their primary source of financial support during graduate school.9 We noted in connection with the large age differential by sex in this field (p. 2.3) that this probably derives from the large number of women Ph.Dos in nursing. The large differential in financial support may arise from the same reason; if the total support available for research degrees in nursing is significantly less than in other medical fields, then women in nursing are disproportionately burdened by having to provide more of their own support. Predoctoral employment Male and female doctorates are nearly equally likely to be teaching full-time prior to the doctorate,~ but only a small propor- tion were so employed--about 4 percent in physical sciences, 6 percent in life sciences, and 9 percent in engineering. In the social sciences, however, as many as 23 percent of the women and 31 percent of the men reported full-time teaching prior to receiving their degrees. TABLE 2.3 Percent of 1977 and 1981 science and OCR for page 16
Marital status . Generally speaking, women Ph.D.s are less likely than their male counterparts to be married at the time of receiving their degrees (Table 2~3)o For 1981 doctorate recipients, the proportion of married women is below 50 percent in most science fields. Marriage is less common among new Ph.D.s than it was just 4 years ago, but the decreases are more dramatic for men than for women O Plans after the Ph.D. . The Survey of Earned Doctorates obtains responses from individual doctorate recipients on their plans for employment or further study immediately following graduation, including the employment sector they plan to enter, and whether they already have a definite job, or are still seeking an appointment. The percent of new Ph.D.s with definite jobs at receipt of the degree has been used as a barometer for the state of the doctoral labor market, as these data are available by field on an annual basis. The data also indicate the comparative status of men and women graduates in obtaining employment. Table 2.4 shows that the new women Ph.D.s are somewhat less likely than their male counterparts to have a definite appointment at the time of receiving the degree. For example, in the biological sciences--a field with a substantial female component--38 percent of the women were still seeking a position compared with 29 percent of the men. Chemistry, with women representing one-sixth of the new Ph.D.s, shows a similar differential: 25 percent of the women but only 16 percent of the men reported that they were still looking for employment. Physics is the single field in which this pattern is reversed. A longer waiting time in obtaining a first appointment may continue to be a disadvantage in the early career years. It has been shown in the case of humanities PhoD.s that those who are seeking but do not have a position at the time of graduation are more likely to be unemployed 1-2 years later (Hornig, unpublished data). The academic sector continues to be the largest employer of doctorate recipients. The percent of new Ph.D.s planning to have an academic position immediately after graduation ranges from 9 percent in chemistry to 56 percent in mathematics and may differ for men and women (Table 2.5~. The reader is reminded that the sizeable group of doctorates with "other plans" shown in Table 2.5 includes those taking postdoctoral fellowships, associateships, traineeships, etc. (The trend toward increasing numbers of postdocs is discussed in detail in Chapter 3.) The group with "other plans" also includes those going into government employment (8 percent of the physics Ph.D.s and 10 percent of the engineers). 2.11

OCR for page 16
TABLE 2.4 Employment prospects at time of receipt of the doctorate, by field and sex, 1980 science and engineering Ph.D.s Number % With ~ Still Total planning definite seeking doctorates employments job job _ . _ Women Men Women Men Women Men Women Men . _ _ Mathematics 9565086508 72% 80%* 28% 20 Computer sciences 2119720166 80 79 20 21 Physics 6791829410 86 76* 14 24 Chemistry 2551283127702 75 84* 25 16 Earth sciences 6456437372 76 82 24 18 Engineering 902389771903 79 81 21 19 Agricultural sciences 10996379756 66 80* 34 20 Medical sciences 278564170263 78 83 22 17 Biological sciences 9552456280775 62 71* 38 29 Psychology 131017889931362 68 73* 32 27 Economics 10366494610 80 85 20 15 Sociology & anthropology 405566331476 64 68 36 32 Other social sciences 3471070301928 68 76* 32 24 aIncludes those Ph.D.s who at the time of receiving the doctorate, planned to be employed as opposed to those planning to take a postdoctoral fellowship, traineeship, etc. The numbers and characteristics of those planning post- doctoral study are discussed in Chapter 3. *Sex difference in percent with definite job is statistically at .05 level. SOURCE: Doctorate Records File, National Research Council 2.12 significant

OCR for page 16
TABLE 2.5 Percent of 1980 science and engineering doctorates planning academic and industrial employment following receipt of the Ph.D. % planning aced. emPloY. % planning indust. employ. plans WOMEN Mathematics65%18% 17 Computer sciences5229 19 Physics1025 65 Chemistry1433 53 Earth sciences2817 55 Engineering2842 30 Agricultural sciences3316 51 Medical sciences428 50 Biological sciences175 78 Psychology3311 56 Economics5215 33 Sociology and anthropology564 40 Other social sciences5814 28 MEN Mathematics5515 30 Computer sciences3938 23 Physics1221 67 Chemistry841 51 Earth sciences2324 53 Engineering2342 35 Agricultural sciences4413 43 Medical sciences2110 69 Biological sciences177 76 Psychology2812 60 Economics569 35 Sociology and anthropology595 36 Other social sciences639 28 2.13

OCR for page 16
Industrial employment is, not surprisingly, highest in engineering, computer sciences and chemistry. About 40 percent of the new Ph.D.s in these departments report that they have or are looking for a position in business or industry. Characteristics of male and female Ph.D.s employed in industry are described in Chapter 5. Labor force participation Approximately 95 percent of the women and 99 percent of the men who earned Ph.D.s in science and engineering in the 1970s were in the labor force as of 1981.iOa Thus, very few women scientists--only one in 20 of the recent Ph.D. cohorts--chose not to work. Their attachment to the labor force is higher than is commonly believed--even among women in the childbearing age groups. Women now make up 12 percent of the total U.S. doctoral work force in science and engineering (Table 2.6~. They account for only 1 percent of the supply of all engineering Ph.D.s, 3 percent of the doctoral physicists, 8 percent of Ph.D. chemists, 18 percent of bioscience Ph.D.s, and as many as 27 percent of the supply of Ph.D. psychologists. In 1981 there were nearly 41,000 doctoral women scientists and engineers in the U.S. work force. The majority of the women scientists are working full-time. Part- time employment is reported by 11 percent of the women compared with 2 percent of the men, across all employment sectors. In psychology, one in six of the women Ph.D.s hold part-time jobs while in mathematics and engineering, only one in 13 do so. About 20 percent of the women who were working part-time reported that they were seeking a full-time 12 position. Women scientists are more likely than their male colleagues to be unemployed involuntarily although for both sexes the numbers are relatively low. The 1981 unemployment rates, calculated separately by field, remain at 1 percent or below for men, regardless of field, and at about 2 percent for women in most fields, although unemployment levels reach 3-4 percent for female Ph.D.s in the biomedical areas and the social sciences. iaNational Research Council, Survey of Doctorate Recipients, unpublished data. lithe median age of the 1976-1980 women Ph.D.s at the time of the survey was 33; 96 percent reported that they were employed or seeking employment. ~ National Research Council, 1981 Profile: Science, Engineering, and Humanities Doctorates in the U.S., Table 1.10. (forthcoming) . frigid., The unemployment rate is the ratio of the number who were unemployed and seeking work to the number in the labor force. 2.14

OCR for page 16
TABLE 2.6 Number and percent of women doctoral scientists and engineers in the labor force by field, 1981 BY FIELD OF DOCTORATE: Number of Women as $s BY FIELD OF EMPLOYMENT: Number of Women as % women of total women of total . . . . All science & engineering fields 40,852 12.0 35,569 11.5 Mathematics1, 4828.11,1658.4 Computer sciences1788.25716.9 Physics8322.95472.9 Chemistry3,7697.82,7587.2 Earth sciences5884.98005.2 Engineering5041.07161.4 Agricultural sciences4533.03662.5 Medical sciences1, 78917.03,58217.6 Biological sciences10, 39218.28,30917.8 Psychology12,25726.910,43727.1 Economics1,153- 8.49008.3 Other social sciences7,45519.55,41818.1 SOURCE: Survey of Doctorate Recipients, National Research Council 2.15