Thirty-Three Years of Women in S&E Faculty Positions

The relatively low proportion of women in academic science and engineering (S&E) has been the topic of numerous recent books, reports, and workshops. Data for 2006 show that women continue to constitute a much lower percentage of S&E full professors than their share of S&E doctorates awarded in that year. Even in psychology, a field heavily dominated by women, women were less than half of all full professors, even though they earned well more than half of doctorates in 2006.

This InfoBrief examines the trends from 1973 to 2006 in the employment of women faculty and in the percentages of full professors and of tenured faculty who are women. The trends are examined by field of doctorate, Carnegie classification of employer, marital status, and the presence of children in the home. Because the S&E doctorate holders employed in academic institutions in 2006 were awarded their doctorates over a span of about three decades, these trends are examined against the background of changing percentages of S&E doctorates earned by women over time, starting with the 1958 degree year.