A Slowdown in the Closing of the Gender Gap in Doctoral Degree Awards

The National Science Foundation has released new data on doctoral recipients at U.S. universities in 2011. The annual Survey of Earned Doctorates reports that there were 48,988 doctoral degrees awarded at these universities in 2011. Of these, 22,751, or 46.4 percent, went to women.

The number of women earning doctorates increased slightly from 2010 but remains below the all-time high of 23,186 set in 2009.

Over the past 30 years the progress of women in earning doctorates has been spectacular. In 1981, women earned less than one third of all doctorates awarded. Two decades ago, women increased their share of all doctorates to 37.1 percent. In 2001, women earned 44 percent of all doctorates awarded at U.S. universities. But in recent years the progress has stopped. In both 2009 and 2010, women earned 46.8 percent of all doctorates, and, as stated earlier, in 2011 women earned 46.4 percent of all doctoral degrees.

In 2011, women earned nearly 70 percent of all the educational doctorates but only 28.6 percent of the doctorates awarded in the physical sciences and 22.2 percent of all doctorates in engineering disciplines. Women earned a majority of the doctorates awarded in the life sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities.

Filed Under: Degree AttainmentsGender GapNews


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