The Persistence of International Science and Engineering Gender Segregation
Methods: We use data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), NSF, and Brazil (Lattes) to describe trends in women’s S&E participation at the Tertiary A, doctoral and faculty levels. We analyze the concentration of women as an additional indicator of occupation sex segregation of science and engineering and compute D-scores, the index of dissimilarity, for each nation over time to examine gender segregation of science fields within and across nations for the period 1998-2012.
Findings (Preliminary): Since 1998, women’s representation in various academic fields has increased greatly at both the Tertiary A (~U.S. bachelor’s degree) and doctoral levels. At the Tertiary A level, women’s representation increased from 49 to 56% between 1998 and 2012 among the 30 nations in included in OECD’s data. At the doctoral level, women earned 36% of degrees in 1998 but neared parity at 47% in 2012. There remain important differences in levels of women’s participation across different S&E fields; women’s participation was highest in the social sciences at 60% of all doctoral degrees in 2012 and was lowest in computing and engineering (at 21% each) in 2012.
Conclusions: While women’s participation in S&E higher education has increased markedly since 1998 at both the bachelor’s and doctoral levels, segregation of women across S&E fields is persistent. Such segregation and the varied ways in which gender impacts the conduct of science in different S&E fields needs to be more carefully considered in designing policies and programs to address gender disparities in women’s participation.