Is the Glass Half Empty? Women, blacks, Hispanics and American Indians are earning more science and engineering degrees, notes Change the Equation, citing the National Science Board’s Science and Engineering Indicators. However, there’s a long way to go.
* Women earn a majority of associate’s degrees in this country, but only a minority of associate’s degrees in science and engineering. In 2007, women earned 62 percent of all associate’s degrees but only 39 percent of associate’s degrees in S&E. That represents a big decline from 48 percent in 1993. Most of that decline stems from a staggering drop in the share of women earning degrees in computer science: from 51 percent in 1993 to 26 percent in 2007.
* The share of Black, Hispanic and American Indian students earning associate’s degrees in S&E has risen quickly. In 2007, they earned 27 percent of these degrees, which is double the share they earned in 1995. They were better represented in the social and behavioral sciences (35 percent) than in the biological sciences, computer sciences and math (26 percent).
At the bachelor’s degree level, women have caught up or moved ahead in biology, chemistry, psychology and the social sciences, but men earn the lion’s share of degrees in engineering, computer science and physics. The share of Black and Hispanic students earning bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering is increasing, but very slowly.