Women Earn Almost 50% of College Math Degrees
We hear a lot about how women are underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields and careers, and "Nationwide, there is a push for more women to choose STEM fields." There is a special National Science Foundation program called ADVANCE, whose goal is to:
"Increase the representation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers, thereby contributing to the development of a more diverse science and engineering workforce. ADVANCE encourages institutions of higher education and the broader science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community, including professional societies and other STEM-related not-for-profit organizations, to address various aspects of STEM academic culture and institutional structure that may differentially affect women faculty and academic administrators. As such, ADVANCE is an integral part of the NSF’s multifaceted strategy to broaden participation in the STEM workforce, and supports the critical role of the Foundation in advancing the status of women in academic science and engineering."
Although it did not specifically address the STEM issue, an editorial in Sunday's Washington Post talked about the "epidemic of sexism" in the U.S., and how "for women in America, equality is still an illusion."
What makes these results even more interesting is that men on average score about 35 points higher on the math portion of the SAT exam than women, so we might expect men to be much more overrepresented than the data for math degrees show. There are many sex imbalances for college degrees by academic field, and most of them favor women, as does the overall college degree imbalance. The fact that women earned more than 44% of all bachelor's degrees in math, and more than 41% of all master's degrees in math in 2006, suggests that there is no "epidemic of sexism" in college math departments, and equality in higher education is more than an illusion.