According to a study by the National Science Foundation, women earn a majority of doctorates, and have been since 2002. The study, “Doctorate Recipiants from U.S. Universities”, looks at doctorate awards in various groups – citizenship, field, sex, influence, postgraduation trends, and more – and shows that overall, the number doctorate recipients has increased steadily since taking a steep decline in 2002.
The study also reveals that women received nearly 47% of all research doctorates in 2009. While women still fall short of men in science and engineering fields, their numbers are climbing. Wondering why all these numbers are so important? The NSF has your answer:
Annual counts of doctorate recipients are measures of the incremental investment in human resources devoted to science, engineering, research, and scholarship, and can serve as leading indicators of the capacity for knowledge-creation and innovation in various domains. The changing characteristics of this population over time—including the increased representation of women, minorities, and foreign nationals; emergence of new fields of study; time it takes to complete doctoral study; expansion of the postdoctoral pool; reduced academic employment opportunities after graduation—reflect political, economic, social, technological, and demographic trends and events. Understanding the connections between these larger forces and the number and characteristics of doctorate recipients is necessary to make informed improvements in this country’s doctoral education system.
The National Science Foundation is “an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science” and more. For more information, visit NSF.gov.