Percentage of Bachelor’s degrees conferred to women, by major (1970-2012)

One oft-cited problem with Computer Science is its glaring gender disparity: In a given Computer Science class, men will outnumber women as much as 8 to 2 (20% women). This stands in stark contrast to most other college majors, which have women outnumbering men 3 to 2 on average (60% women). This observation made me wonder: Are other STEM majors suffering the same gender disparity?

To get at that question, I checked into the NCES 2013 Digest of Education Statistics and looked at the gender breakdown from 1970-2012 for every major they report on. I charted the data below to offer a bird’s eye view of the trends. You can download the cleaned data set here.

Edit: For a perspective on the gender gap in female-dominated majors, please look here.


Today’s trends

The woman-dominated majors of today are unsurprising to anyone who has attended a large university in the U.S.:

  1. Health Professions (85% women): nursing assistant, veterinary assistant, dental assistant, etc.
  2. Public Administration (82%): social work, public policy, etc.
  3. Education (79%): pre-K, K-12, higher education, etc.
  4. Psychology (77%): cognitive psychology, clinical psychology, etc.

Surprisingly to me, most of the STEM majors aren’t doing as bad gender disparity-wise as I expected. 40-45% of the degrees in Math, Statistics, and the Physical Sciences were conferred to women in 2012. Even better, a majority of Biology degrees in 2012 (58%) were earned by women. This data tells me that we don’t really have a STEM gender gap in the U.S.: we have an ET gender gap!

This ET gender gap has severe consequences. Computer Science and Engineering majors have stagnated at less than 10% of all degrees conferred in the U.S. for the past decade, while the demand for employees with programming and engineering skills continue to outpace the supply every year. Compare this to more woman-dominated majors such as Business and Health Professions, which comprise 1/3 of all college degrees in 2012 when combined.

Provided that far more women attend college than men, it seems the best way to meet the U.S.’s growing need for skilled programmers and engineers is to focus on recruiting more women — of any race or ethnicity — into Computer Science and Engineering majors. The big question, of course, is “How?” With the constant issues of subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) discrimination against women in these male-dominated majors, we have quite a tough task on our hands.

Looking at the historical trends, maybe we have something to learn from Architecture and the Physical Sciences, given that they were in our position only 40 years ago.

Historical trends

Perhaps the more fascinating trend in the above graph is how the gender composition of these majors have changed in the past 40 years. Several majors, such as the Health Professions and Education, have been woman-dominated as far back as we have reliable data. But other majors, such as Psychology and Communications/Journalism, didn’t see their rise to preference until the late 1970s. Perhaps the most dramatic gender composition change occurred in Agriculture, which started as a gentleman’s club in 1970 (only 4% of degrees conferred to women) and grew to an even 50%-50% split by 2012.

Going back to Computer Science, we see a rather sad story unfold. The computer scientists of today find themselves in the same disposition as the computer scientists of the 1970s: Only ~15% of the CS degrees were conferred to women. Then the late 1970s and early 1980s finally looked promising: With a peak at 37% of all CS degrees in 1983, it seemed as though Computer Science might join the rest of the majors with a more even gender distribution. But 1984 saw fewer women graduating with a CS degree, and the trend has followed a downward spiral ever since. What was it about the 1970s and early 1980s that made Computer Science more welcoming to women? And what changed?

Dr. Randy Olson is an AI Scientist at Absci using data science and deep learning to make medicines better and make better medicines.

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158 comments on “Percentage of Bachelor’s degrees conferred to women, by major (1970-2012)
  1. vt says:

    What about other pure science degrees such as chemistry or environmental science? Also, I’d be curious about subfields in engineering. At Georgia Tech, anecdotal data was that biotech was majority women for instance.

  2. some smart mensa guy says:

    “With the constant issues of subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) discrimination against women in these male-dominated majors”

    Have you entertained the possibility that maybe most women SUCK at CS&E?

    • st says:

      It took me a moment to stop being mad and realize you are actually right: most women DO suck at CS&E. So do most men.

      But if you are not just being sarcastic (and even if you are), this is a perfect example of a discriminating attitude that will make women less likely to join these fields.

    • Ceal says:

      “some smart mensa guy”. Hmmm. On what are you basing your statement? what research? Talent, aptitude, and skills are not the obstacle; the issue is choice (Ceci & Williams, 2010). Young women are not aspiring to those careers (Perez-Falkner, 2010). The problem is why not.

      Ceci and Williams (2007) had many research authors weigh in on your point. If you read the book, it might prove enlightening for you, Newcombe’s (2007) chapter on spatial sex differences in particular. In another book chapter, Gur and Gur (2007) concluded from their meta-analysis that women and men use their brains differently to perform the same spatial task (p. 194).

      Ceci, S. J., & Williams, W. M. (2010, October). Sex differences in math-intensive fields. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19(5), 275-279. doi:10.1177/0963721410383241

      Gur, R. C. & Gur, R. E. (2007). Neural substrates for sex differences in cognition. In S. J. Ceci & W. M. Williams [Eds.], Why Aren’t More Women in Science: Top Researchers Debate the Evidence, pp. 189-198. Washington, DC: Sage.

      Newcombe, N. S. (2007). Taking science seriously: Straight thinking about spatial sex differences. In S. J. Ceci & W. M. Williams [Eds.], Why Aren’t More Women in Science: Top Researchers Debate the Evidence, pp. 69-77. Washington, DC: Sage.

      Perez-Felkner, L. C. (2010, May). Cultivating college dreams: Institutional culture and social pathways to educational attainment. Paper presented at International AERA 2010 Conference, Denver, CO.

      • Ali Bertarian says:

        Here is a possible answer to why women tend not to choose CS & E. From the abstract of an article in Psychological Science:

        “Although women have nearly attained equality with men in several formerly male-dominated fields, they remain underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). We argue that one important reason for this discrepancy is that STEM careers are perceived as less likely than careers in other fields to fulfill communal goals (e.g., working with or helping other people). Such perceptions might disproportionately affect women’s career decisions, because women tend to endorse communal goals more than men. As predicted, we found that STEM careers, relative to other careers, were perceived to impede communal goals.”

        This would also explain why women are so over-represented in the Health Professions majors.

      • Juan in Texas says:

        Focus on where women are under represented but ignore that equality doesn’t exist for men.

    • Susan Rubinsky says:

      All you have to do is look at Engineering programs that have put in programs* to actively recruit women and see that women are fully capable to performing in this area. Cornell had a 38% rate of enrollment for woman in the engineering department in 2013-14.

      These programs are aimed not only at actively recruiting women, but also changing organizationally to be more inclusive to women. This includes hiring more more female faculty and putting into place organizational programs supportive of women (childcare, for example).

  3. Pax Mcracken says:

    (1) – If some majors are “woman-dominated as far back as we have reliable data,” why should we be surprised/dismayed that the same thing exists for men? Is the fact the health fields have always been popular with women a “rather sad story?”

    (2)-If there’s such a marked disparity in gender preference for these majors, wouldn’t the more effective strategy to boost CS be recruiting -men- who might choose other majors? Even with the gender gap in total enrollment you could easily “poach” enough, say, math students to bump CS numbers up significantly.

  4. Nick says:

    I’d wager that the gender disparity in CS is related to men being four times more likely to display autistic spectrum tendencies. That four to one ratio is pretty close to the 80% male enrolment. Similarly at the opposite tail of the distribution (of presumably very extroverted individuals with high empathy) we have 80% women in fields such as health.

    Perhaps if one desires to have more women in CS you should advertise things like cooperation in software projects, helping others through tech-solutions, etc to women. And conversely get more guys into female fields by highlighting the opportunities for problem solving and opportunities for gaining status.

    • huehuehue says:

      Unless you assume that only people with autistic tendencies go in to computer science and engineering (obviously false), your analysis doesn’t make sense because the data is for everyone, not just people with autism.

      • Niklas says:

        I’ve completed a bachelors in CS and have many friends in other unis studying STEM subjects, so I feel I’m familiar with the demographic. Like 50% of the students were full on aspie (including me), and the vast majority showed some kind of introverted tendencies. The people who were more extroverted tended to have different objectives for getting the degree, like ensuring they land a good job or pleasing their parents instead of just being interested in code or algorithms.

        • EngineeringGirl says:

          That is one aspect of ET. If you would have come out of your coding hole you would see the rest of the engineering factions are very social when not studying. I used to recruit and was very active in our ET departments. You have a point when it comes to Electrical and computer engineering/science, but not with all of the other engineering fields.

    • Ceal says:

      Nick, you are on a key idea for appealing to males and females differently. When you factor in color to the gender variable, more of this kind of differences arises. Check out the research and how to do outreach to young people (and the public) with those ideas in mind! Great point!

  5. Jackie says:

    From my personal experience, it was lack of exposure to computer science. I wish I had any sort of CS course in high school and it may have changed my path. Now I have graduated and working in the IT field and wishing I had gotten a CS degree. Colleagues of mine, all men graduated with CS degrees and from an early age were interested in gaming and whatnot. Their high schools all offered programming courses. I’m wishing I hadn’t spent so much time trying to fit in with all the girls when I could have gotten a head start learning stuff that I’m now interested in.

    • Randy Olson says:

      Video games are what drew me into CS at first. I was a gamer all through my teens. It’d be interesting to see the % of girls who grew up gaming went on to pursue a CS degree.

  6. Telshe says:

    How do you look at this graph and conclude that the most pressing issue is that we need more women in ET?

    The conclusion should be that we need serious affirmative action for men in “health professions”, psychology, public administration and education.

    Also, % instead of absolute numbers hides the sheer number of women getting college degrees.

  7. anon says:

    Part of the problem with Computer Science is as Jackie mentioned. Very few students get exposure to Computer Science in high school. The College Board removed AP Computer Science AB from its curriculum – from my understanding because not enough students were taking it male or female. It’s also my understanding less than 10% of high schoolers in this country have any exposure to Computer Science in high school.

    While schools in more affluent areas probably do have a Computer Science class of some nature (like AP Computer Science A), there are still too few in general. I feel a lot of people who get into CS do so from interest outside of the classroom (gamers, etc). CS so far is largely an elective, and I think men are more likely to choose that elective due to gender stereotypes.

    I know in my freshman CS classes several students were at the disadvantage of not having any prior CS experience with no clue what they were really getting themselves into. They struggled a lot to keep up – some I mentored simply gave up because they couldn’t keep up with the students who had exposure.

    I think a large part of the problem for CS is that there is simply not enough qualified CS instructors at the high school level, CS is considered an elective, and there is very little incentive for people with CS degrees to consider secondary education. Consider the difficulty of teaching, dealing with the politics in the school system, and the fact a qualified instructor would probably be making much more in industry than teaching.

    • Ceal says:

      Another aspect that hasn’t been talked about is the low numbers of people of color in CS. Check out the findings (Margolis, Estrella, Goode, Holme, & Nao, 2008) about high school students in CS classes in Los Angeles, and using a filter of Black and Latino/a what the researchers found. This book was enlightening and provided ideas for high school curriculum and teacher training to be more inclusive.

      Margolis, J., Estrella, R., Goode, J., Holme, J. J., & Nao, K. (2008). Stuck in the shallow end, education, race, and computing [Kindle on PC edition]. Retrieved from

  8. anon says:

    My love of CS came from trying to make video games in high school, which was my first exposure to CS. Video games are targeted at males, and mostly males play video games.

  9. Jack Richards says:

    I wonder how we can work on increasing the number of male graduates in female dominated professions.

    • ann says:

      Why? The country has a gap in engineering and tech fields.

      • ann says:

        Whoops. This was for the poster that wanted more men in psych.

      • Jerry says:

        The country has gap in 11 majors(In 9 women have bigger percentage in majors and in 2 men have bigger percentage in mayors.)You are a woman and you complain?Are you kidding me?If women complain what about men who only have 2 out of 11.Women comments made me laugh.

    • Nor says:

      God yes. Stop them from taking all our tech jobs.

    • Bobby says:

      You sexist pig!!! Females should outnumber or equal males in all degrees!!


      • Morgan Kelly says:

        No, they should just value a lot of “female” professions just as much as they do law enforcement (in which there wouldn’t be so much work if MEN didn’t commit so many crimes) and the war machine (in which there wouldn’t be so much work if men didn’t think problems should be solved through violence).

        • Bobby says:

          Uh, that’s not how capitalism works….

          • Morgan Kelly says:

            Proof that it needs to change then. Capitalism will fall by the wayside the way feudalism and slavery did. People are evolving. Too bad they’re doing it too slowly.

          • Morgan Kelly says:

            Then we definitely need an alternative to capitalism then. After all, we found an alternative to feudalism, slavery, and every other imperfect system designed by a bunch of overly competitive, greedy……

    • Vamp Girl says:

      In most of these cases it’s the women who choose not to study these so called male-dominated fields, but in most these cases genders are categorized into majors. For example some people would look down on a male nurse and call him soft and unmanly. Whereas women who enter male dominated fields get as much heat from both men and women alike. These women are some times treated as weak by male colleagues, and women act surprised by their choice study. Since when was getting as education gender based. Everyone should study what they want. A women can be a nurse, engineer, pilot, or firefighter. A man can be a teacher, nurse, social worker, banker, or doctor. All that matters is you do something you enjoy, and beneficial to the society as a whole.

      • Ali_Bertarian says:


        In most of these cases it’s the women who choose not to study these so called male-dominated fields, but in most these cases genders are categorized into majors. For example some people would look down on a male nurse and call him soft and unmanly. Whereas women who enter male dominated fields get as much heat from both men and women alike. These women are some times treated as weak by male colleagues, and women act surprised by their choice study.

        Have you actually heard a male nurse been called soft and unmanly, or any similar terms, either directly or behind his back? I worked in as an X-ray tech in a hospital. There were only a few male nurses. I never heard any conversations concerning them in which their sex was discussed. Besides, there was nothing feminine or weak about them.

        I found the same to be true in the computer industry as a programmer. Only a few female programmers existed. Again, no conversations concerning them involved their sex.


        Since when was getting as education gender based. Everyone should study what they want. A women can be a nurse, engineer, pilot, or firefighter. A man can be a teacher, nurse, social worker, banker, or doctor. All that matters is you do something you enjoy, and beneficial to the society as a whole.

        I think most men and women are already doing what they want. If you love being an engineer, but wouldn’t like being a nurse, would you really choose nursing as a career because you believed that someone out there doesn’t think that women should be engineers? Would you really waste your life because of what someone else thought of you?

        If men and women are already working at what they want to do, then why be surprised that more men want to be engineers, and more women want to be nurses? Do you think that more men than women prefer working with things, and that more women than men prefer working with people, or do you think they are equally motivated?

      • Helen Anderson says:

        Vamp-agree. The problem is with the PC world we live in today supported by the liberal media. It has created huge vacuums for men. My company spends money for me to figure out how to hire female engineers. No one, I repeat, no one will ever spend a dime trying to figure out how to get men into healthcare or education, for example. If diversity is so essential (as advertised by the left) then how can it be that healthcare and the other female-dominated majors even function with so few men???

        • JKG says:

          It’s easy. Recruit feminine men into the healthcare. I’m one of them. The thing about women who go into stem is that they are more androgynous as are the men who go into healthcare or teaching.

  10. Steve Sailer says:

    It looks like the peak percentage for women in computer science was over 30 years ago, so the common explanation of “legacy of discrimination” sounds untenable.

    • Nor says:

      Well, once the jobs starting becoming lucrative, it was out for the women. Just like welding after the war.

      • Derek Diaz says:

        They were push out because smarter men rushed in due to the attraction of the high wages.

        The same would happen in any field that suddenly attracted higher IQ people overnight. The dul wind up unable to compete.

    • anisha malviya says:

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  11. Steve Sailer says:

    The role of H-1B visas in allowing American employers to substitute foreign men for American women no doubt played a role in diminishing the popularity of Computer Science majors to American women. We would get more American women in programming jobs if we cut back on H-1B visas.

    • Whut says:

      You’re joking, right?

    • Eric says:

      “The role of H-1B visas in allowing American employers to substitute foreign for American no doubt played a role in diminishing the popularity of Computer Science majors to American.”


  12. colleen says:

    The truth is complicated. It starts young. Girls don’t know what they don’t know about CS. My daughter is enrolled in Girls Who Code, which is trying to engage high school girls in computer science in safe nurturing environment. This organization is on a mission to expose young women to what CS is and what it isn’t. You don’t have to be hunched over a computer for the rest of your life – is one of their messages. There are options for women who major is CS. If you can’t communicate the long term career prospects for women then you can’t engage them. It is interesting to me that many of my daughters female friends have no idea about what makes the technology work that they use every single day of their lives.

    I believe that CS should be a required class in freshman year, for all high schools. How sad is it that in this digital age, it is not. 🙁

    When computer science programs incorporate soft skill training into the course content, i.e. communication, inclusion in a group, importance of teamwork, sexual harassment etc, you will see a change. Women have to see what the possibilities are for them in a field long term. If what they are seeing is a male dominated field, with people who do not communicate well, and who do not welcome them to the table, I don’t blame them for not choosing computer science. Women want to work where they are welcomed, where they can use both right and left brain skills.

    The more women who are in CS and can reach out to younger women and mentor them into programs, the better off we are.

    Additionally, the actual way that the curriculum is being taught needs to be evaluated. Can you combine more experiential learning and case study work into the curriculum? Can you address how the importance in diversity in a classroom only benefits the learning environment?

    My hope for my daughter is that she walks away empowered with knowledge that it is important to understand what CS is. What coding is. What business intelligence is, or how to build an app, or what UI is. This knowledge may encourage her to look at majoring or minoring in CS. At the very least she will gain knowledge about what makes technology work.

    One last note, on the H1-B discussion. We need to look at how to solve our employment challenges in this country and focus on getting people re-deployed into areas like CS, UI, Big Data that are in great need of qualified people. That discussion leads us to education. The bootcamps that are cropping up all over the country are trying to address this labor shortfall, by providing access to education in a short intensified environment and getting people employed, ie Hackbright (my fav because it is all women), hack reactor, etc. Perhaps by offering a vocational solution, this will help to start to turn the tide in addressing in our own country how we can re-train and re-deploy people in technical areas. No – this does not replace a 4 year college degree, but the possibility that you can gain technical skills in different way, without going into further debt in college, is very interesting.

  13. Ceal says:

    Couple of notes: engineering (overall), physics, and computer science have all had graduating rates (through 2011 data) at 20% or lower since 2006, and were higher (engr & CS) in prior years. Women’s graduating rates in engr & CS dropped after 2002 to less than 20%. (I can send graphs if you want them). [from Science and Engineering Degrees: 1966-2011. Detailed Statistical Tables (NSF 11-327) by National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, National Science Foundation, 2013, pp. 52-53, 59, 70, Retrieved from That sources DOES have breakdowns by types of engineering: environmental engr. is almost 50/50. 2011 #s: Aero 13.1; ME 11.3%; Materials Engr. 27.7%; EE 11.2%; Indus. Engr 29.2%; Chem E: 32.4%; Civil 21.0%; Comp Engr 8.7%, Comp SW 7.1%; Bioengr/biomedical engr: 39.3%; Environ. Eng: 44.4%; chemistry 48.8%; physics 19.2%

    Next, check out Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing (Margolis & Fisher, 2002) for ideas on what is happening to drive women out of CS in college and what can be done to reverse the trend. This longitudinal study of women in CS programs at Carnegie Mellon helped CMU move their percentages upward in the 35 – 40% zones consistently.

    Last, the study done by the National Academy of Engineering (2008): Changing the conversation: Messages for improving public understanding of engineering, is worth understanding. Since I’ve been using this in outreach to young people, young women and teens/young adults of color have responded more positively to pursuing careers in engineering. Check out

    I’m a retired (~35 years) mechanical engr., just finished a PhD in Education, using this data, research and more to explore one outreach program (robotics) and its influence.

  14. Many thanks for sharing this data and your comments. It’s illuminating to see these relatively current statistics. I’m a qualified engineer, now working in IT and doing research in education. I worked on two research projects in the 1990s exploring the under-representation of women in STEM. Most of these studies showed, as you have illustrated here, that the greatest gender disparities occurred in engineering, IT/computer science, and the physical (rather than biological) sciences.

    Most studies of the under-representation of women in STEM measure women’s participation rates as the proportion of female STEM undergraduates among all STEM undergraduates — as you have illustrated here. Another helpful statistic which we used to supplement this was a “parity index” (i.e. the number of female STEM undergraduates as a proportion of all female undergraduates). The use of a parity index enabled us to express the participation of women in STEM in a way that was not biased by overall increases in women’s participation in higher education nor by variation in the participation rates of men. See Cronin & Rodger (1999) for full description:

    Though you may find studies which identify male/female differences in mathematical and/or spatial abilities, an overwhelming majority of studies show more variability within male and female groups than between them. In my view, the most convincing explanation to explain persistent female under-representation in IT & STEM (as well as male under-representation in female-dominated fields) is culture. The culture of various disciplines/fields is defined in a way which is highly gendered (i.e. related to masculine and feminine gender roles) which feeds into belief systems, assumptions about abilities, etc. This accounts for the fact that in other countries (e.g. China, Norway, etc.), the number of women in STEM far exceeds that in the US/Europe. For a brief summary of some of this research, please see

    I look forward to keeping in contact with your work as it progresses. Many thanks again.

    • Randy Olson says:

      Thank you for passing these links along, Catherine. What do you see as the most promising path(s) to enact change in our cultures that will make it more culturally acceptable for women to join TE fields? I’ve seen several programs involving pre-teen girls in programming camps etc. over the summer that look very promising. But do they actually work?

      • I am supportive of all efforts to redress the gender imbalance in TE fields. It is useful to have role model and mentoring programmes, for example, but it is by no means sufficient. There have been role model & mentoring programmes for many years now, without making much of a dent in the proportion of women in STEM/TE. Fewer girls and women choose STEM/TE, and many women leave, at all stages from undergraduate through to later career (i.e. the “leaky pipeline”).

        I’ve found it helpful to conceptualise the under-representation of women in TE this way. Consider 2 equations:
        50% ==> 15%
        50% ==> 85%
        The left side shows the approximate proportions of females and males overall; the right side shows the approximate proportions of females and males in TE fields. Role model and mentoring programmes deal only with the first equation, i.e. the 15% (women engineers/scientists) going to schools, workplaces, clubs, etc. and speaking with girls about STEM. This may encourage girls (at least temporarily) but does nothing to change the culture of schools, academic departments or workplaces. We need the 85% (i.e. men in TE) to work with us to address this issue. And we must address the gendered perceptions of boys too, not just girls. Otherwise, we cannot effect lasting change, i.e. change the gendered culture of TE.

        There have been programmes which have had success in increasing the proportion of women studying TE (e.g. Harvey Mudd College, Carnegie Mellon, etc.). These initiatives focus on inclusive admissions processes, inclusive teaching practices, and a willingness to reflect on the environment and culture within departments and schools. See the ‘Resources’ section in the blog post I shared above (last link in my comment) for some more specific ideas. Hope that is helpful.

    • Derek Diaz says:

      It is not due to culture.

      It is due to low female IQ.

      Stop pestering the world with your apologist drivel.

      • Parapom says:

        Diaz.. you’ve written the same thing 5 times on this thread. Each time you have mis-spelt something in your sentences. Forgive me, if you are actually hispanic.
        Women do not have lower IQs than men, but I suspect your IQ is not high enough to think about anything, other than what suits your insecurities.
        Stop pestering us with YOUR apologist drivel.

  15. Hadi Partovi says:

    One more case where the word “STEM” distracts from where the real problem and opportunity lies, which is Computer Science. If you look at ALL of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), the gender representation is relatively balanced, and so are the number of students relative to jobs. In fact, if you subtract computing from STEM, there is an oversupply of students.

    Whereas if you look at Computer Science and computing/digital/software fields, there is a massive gender imbalanced, and 3x more jobs than students, as this blog suggests.

    On the plus side, the Hour of Code campaign has introduced almost 20M girls to computer science in the past 6 months, and I’m optimistic that we’re seeing the beginning of the end of this imbalance.

  16. Soleus says:

    You describe the Health Professions majors as “nursing, veterinary medicine, dentistry, etc.” If you didn’t separate graduate degrees, certifications, and associates degrees from the undergraduate degrees, then your analysis of the undergraduate trends in Health Professions data is inaccurate.

    From the list of Health Professions majors that you linked on Reddit (,
    Medicine (MD), Dentistry (DDS, DMD), Veterinary Medicine (DVM), Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Pharmacy (PharmD), Optometry (OD), Medical Scientist (MD &PhD), Podiatric/Podiatry (DPM), Chiropractic (DC), and Naturopathy (ND) are all doctorates in the US. There are a number of other degrees on the list like Public Health (MPH, DPH), Nursing Science (MS, PhD), Veterinary Biomedical and Clinical Sciences (Cert., MS, PhD), and any Nurse Practitioner degrees (Family Practice Nurse/Nursing, Pediatric Nurse/Nursing, etc.) that are also only offered as graduate degrees and not as a BS/BA. Some other programs on the list like Histology Technician are associates degrees or certifications.

    Before starting graduate school, these health students generally get a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field like Biochemistry or Molecular and Cellular Biology; however, depending on the discipline, they can also apply with an unrelated undergraduate degree like Russian Studies as long as they have taken all of the prerequisite undergraduate courses and standardized exams that are required by the graduate program for matriculation. There are also a few universities that offer specialized majors that are designed to include all of the prerequisite courses for particular graduate degrees; these include the bachelor degrees of Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Medicine/Medical, Pre-Pharmacy, Pre-Veterinary, etc. Several students also hold one or more advanced degrees (MS, MPH, PhD, etc.) before applying to a health related graduate program.

    Although veterinarians actually hold doctorates, you are correct that there are currently more women than men practicing in veterinary medicine. In 2013, 52.9% of veterinarians employed in private clinical practice and 50.2% of veterinarians employed in the public and corporate sector were women ( However, mixing all of the undergraduate and graduate level health degrees is misleading, because although the majority of nurses and nursing students are women, the majority of graduate students and practitioners in the medical and dental fields are not. In 2008, 20% of all active dentists were women, and in 2013, 48.1% of graduating dental students were women & In 2012, 31.9% of all active US physicians were women In 2013, 47.2% of matriculating allopathic US medial students were women Although women were expected to be awarded 57.2% of all B.A. and B.S. degrees nationally, a lower percentage of female college graduates applied to medical school than male graduates (2.2% of all female college graduates applied vs. 3.2% of all male college graduates) and in 2011-2012, 47.3% of all medical school applicants were women

    Here are some additional statistics concerning nursing:

    – “In 2011, 9 percent of all nurses were men while 91 percent were women. Men earned, on average, $60,700 per year, while women earned $51,100 per year…Even among men and women in the same nursing occupations, men outearned women. Women working as nurses full‐time, year‐round earned 91 cents for every dollar male nurses earned.” (U.S. Census Bureau, February 2013:

    – “In terms of gender breakdown, men comprised 11.0% of students in baccalaureate programs, 10.0% of master’s students, 7.9% of research-focused doctoral students, and 10.0% of practice-focused doctoral students. Though nursing schools have made strides in recruiting and graduating nurses that reflect the patient population, more must be done before equal representation is realized.” (

  17. Richard says:

    I have a number of undergraduate and advanced Degrees, one of which is an Engineering subject (Petroleum) and none of which is Computer Science.

    Of all the Degrees I do have, Engineering has been the least intellectually rewarding. I have chosen not to study Computer Science as I regard it as a subject that solves uninteresting problems relative to the universe of all problems that can or must be solved (health, social policy, education, food, – the >50% subjects in your data).

    Whether you agree or disagree with my view is irrelevant. That fact that I hold that view is sufficient to show that there are plausible explananatory factors other than discrimination for Bachelor Degree choice.

    You state that the US needs more skilled programmers, without noting that it also needs more skilled health workers, public administrators, teachers, and farmers. You state gender disparity as a Computer Science “problem”, without explaining why the configuration of the genitals of Computer Scientists is harmful to the goals of Compter Science.

    Could it not be that women reject Computer Science simply because they have better judgement about what society needs, and what they might find fulfilling when they come to look back at their contribution to making the world a better place? If so, then doesn’t the data better suggest that we need to encourage more men to select subjects *other* than Computer Science and Engineering?

    • Bill Keating says:

      It is a myth that their is a shortage of programmers in this country. I was a programmer with a Masters in CS for twenty five years and I was eased into early retirement, with age a major factor.

      The US has a plentiful supply of programmers Indian and Russian. Here in the US or offshore. Since programming does not require good language or cultural skills, programmers that speak limited English but are fine in sitting in front of a computer writing lines of code have all the qualifications needed.

      The following is the absolute truth. I interviewed with a Manhattan company whose entire programming staff of seven were Russian. And only two of them spoke English good enough to interview me.

      Add to the equation that foreign programmers whose work is just as good as domestic programmers, but are paid significantly less, and you can see why they are welcome in this country. The officers may be mostly Americans, but the foreigners are excellent infantry.

  18. Anon says:

    What’s wrong with the idea that men and women are different and as such have different ambitions and goals? Must we continue to micro-analyze every little bit of society until we have the exact politically-correct proportions in everything?

    Or if we did manage to get women to occupy 50% of the Computer Science degrees, would the next step to be to get the right mix of Hispanic women, lesbians, left-handed women, etc?

    Enough already.

    • Nor says:

      Women used to have plenty of jobs in tech – writing software was a traditionally female job – men did hardware. Until it became clear the money was in software, and women got pushed out. The term “computer” is a description of a traditionally female job, like secretary. It referred to the person who operated the machine, who were overwhelmingly female in the beginning.

      I know it sounds nice to you to keep all the high paying jobs specifically for men, especially white men, but everyone else thinks that’s a bad idea. I’m sure they’re just being selfish.

      • Ali_Bertarian says:

        Nor wrote: “writing software was a traditionally female job – men did hardware.”

        I had programming jobs in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Men always dominated. Whether in 3-person or 9 person shops, there was never more than one female programmer. In my first job at Lockheed in the late 70s, the old-timers were all male except for one, so that means the jobs in the 60s were probably held mostly by males.

        The same pattern held for the computer classes I took in the 70s, 80s, and 90s: less than 20% female.

        • Helen Anderson says:

          Agree. Saying women traditionally wrote most software is a joke. Totally uninformed.

      • Hippiefreak says:

        You wrote:
        “The term ‘computer’ is a description of a traditionally female job, like secretary. It referred to the person who operated the machine, who were overwhelmingly female in the beginning.”

        Can you provide your best supporting information for that, please? I find it interesting and if I ever repeat it or inquire about it, I may be asked to source it.
        Thank you.

        • Mary says:

          Go read up on the “Harvard Computers”. Google is a fantastic tool.

          • Hippiefreak says:

            I found that the term ‘computer’ originated as early as 1613 and referred to people, both men and women, as well as objects that performed this function, such as the 1902 book ‘Screw Propeller Computer’. An 1894 reference from the US. Naval Observatory listed several men as computers. In astronomy, it was a temporary position for men until they advanced, and women generally were not allowed the job of computing until Pickering at Harvard University came along and hired a number of women. With men drafted to fight in WWII many of the computers were women. The world’s first professional computer programmers were women, selected from this group of computers. Pretty interesting stuff. But I can’t conclude the job was traditionally female.

      • Jerry says:

        Dear feminist Nor,women have majors percentage 80% in health and in public admin.,70% in education,psycology,foreign languages,60%in english,communications,biology and arts.Men only have big percentage in only 2 majors.Big percentage in majors ;Women 9 majors> Men 2 majors.You want them all, how much misoandry you are?

      • Helen Anderson says:

        Yeah. Men used to do all of the healthcare and public administration. Until all the women pushed them out.

        • Morgan Kelly says:

          No, traditionally the people at your bedside cleaning your behind and taking real care of you when you’re darn good and sick are predominately women. Maybe men went into administration. I think we have to start valuing the real, practical work….rather than the middle management.

  19. says:

    No data about Earth & planetary sciences (geosciences) or astronomy-astrophysics ?

  20. Another interesting data point:

    When I was in grad school for Comp Sci (c.2002-2005), one of my classes noted the breakdown of people in graduate programs at our school. We had about 6 different graduate programs under the umbrella of the College of Computer Science, one of the largest programs in the country. Software Engineering was almost 100% male. (I think there were 1-2 women in the entire program.) Human-Computer Interaction, however, was majority women by a wide margin. (I don’t recall the exact numbers, but I think it was > 55%.)

    So even within the Comp Sci umbrella there is a wide spread of where gender disparity lies.

    (My undergraduate major, at the same school, was in Human-Computer Interaction, because I didn’t want to get “stuck” being “just a programmer”. Turns out I liked being a programmer, so I switched to straight CS for grad school and finished wishing I’d done Software Engineering. Go figure.)

  21. Thanks for this graph and analysis, Randy. I have written an article citing your work here:

    I also use some of this data to address the arguments of Dr. Muhammad Khalifa, who – I believe – is from your same university.

  22. John M says:

    It seems we have several gender gaps. In most of them, there are too many women. What should we do to close those gender gaps? We have a glaring gap in health professions, for example.

    And if you have more women in some things, you have to have fewer in others.

    • Nor says:

      You could pay more. Men are in the higher paying fields – raise the salaries of low paying traditionally female jobs and the men will follow.

  23. Literally Hitler says:

    “Provided that far more women attend college than men”
    #Not a problem

    “Health Professions (85% women): nursing assistant, veterinary assistant, dental assistant, etc.
    Public Administration (82%): social work, public policy, etc.
    Education (79%): pre-K, K-12, higher education, etc.
    Psychology (77%): cognitive psychology, clinical psychology, etc.”
    #Not a problem

    “Only ~15% of the CS degrees were conferred to women.”

    • NotTelevised says:

      Correct me if I’m mistaken, but I’m pretty sure you choose your own major. The problem you describe lies with the individuals. Women don’t get CS degrees because they don’t pursue them. It’s not a gumball machine full of sheepskin. Also, my understanding of feminism, gleaned from speaking with feminists, is that it means equality. If so, how is male under-representation ever #notaproblem? It’s #notaproblem for women, you mean, clearly. If those are the same, feminism isn’t about equality. Even if it is, it means equal opportunity, not equal success. As far as I know, there’s a test of pure logic for most programming/CS programs, not gender.

  24. G says:

    “Surprisingly to me, most of the STEM majors aren’t doing as bad gender disparity-wise as I expected. 40-45% of the degrees in Math, Statistics, and the Physical Sciences were conferred to women in 2012. Even better, a majority of Biology degrees in 2012 (58%) were earned by women. ”

    So the more degrees conferred to women in a given subject the ‘better’ it is doing?

    We need to do something about the fact women aren’t entering computer science but the fact males are underrepresented in the majority of all fields isn’t an issue worth a mention?

    • M.B. says:

      You’ve got to be kidding me. Let’s help those poor male students that are slightly underrepresented in biology but extremely overrepresented in engineering and computer science? Have you thought that the disparity may be because those male students are mostly in T and E and not in SM?

      • firedrake911 says:

        You are simply wrong. Even as noted in the article, men dominate STEMs except in Biology, and that despite being outnumbered on campus by 3:2. (not really, it’s 3:2 in terms of degrees) The ratio isn’t quite so bad for men, but they have lower graduation rates. Less attend, even less graduate.
        Now if that were the case for women, imagine the outcry:
        Picture this headline: “Only 2 out of five college degrees go to women” “Or Women 20% less likely to finish college.”
        The public outcry would be deafening. But those are the percentages for men.
        Sadly for some folks inequality is only unfair if it happens only to their sex. Just based on gradation rates alone, in 15 years time, all the numbers will point to women making more than men, due to there simply being more working women with college degrees than men. Oh what will we do?
        (I know the answer: Mens Studies majors! (kidding, of course).

    • Nor says:

      If they want to exchange the higher paying opportunities they’ve got and go into poorer paying traditionally female fields, they are more than welcome, as long as they don’t mind if we take their sweet sweet tech jobs.

    • Lightnin Purple Skittle says:

      Author must not know the defintion of STEM, as psychology is in fact, a stem major…

      • Raymond Martin says:

        It’s a social science. Should we also include other areas that are not in the “science” departments, because psychology isn’t?

        • Tom Paine says:

          There is no such thing as social “science”. It is a made up phrase by wanna-be’s.

          • bernie says:

            Social sciences are based on experimental research. It is carried on using the same methods of any other empirical science.

            Sure, there is plenty of garbage research, academic dishonesty, data fabrication, irreproducible studies, unethical publishers and incompetent peer reviewers. But try naming one field that’s immune of these problems.

      • Helen Anderson says:

        That’s silly. Psych should not be a STEM major for God’s sake. More liberal-think – nobody can be left out

    • paramore309 says:

      Do what it is not like you can make them take classes, I know at my college ,all they want to take are women’s studies…good luck with that. If women are not getting ahead it is their own faults. I have worked in Law Enforcement and now I am back in school to get a PhD in Psychology and Biology. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make them drink.

      • Morgan Kelly says:

        Law Enforcement – a field where men drum up trade by committing
        crimes. Since men commit 90% of the crimes, I don’t think you guys in law enforcement should get compensated with women’s tax payments. That’s extortion.

    • Casey Hill says:

      Actually once you factor in preferential treatment your argument wanes, not to mention desire and social trends. No, no, superior intelligence is based on IQ and IQ alone. No need to chase women down for computer science if it isnt natural to them and slow everyone down.

  25. Bill Keating says:

    Perhaps you should take the women’s desertion of computer science at face value: that they were pushed into that profession by people like you and, when they discovered that computer programming involved many tedious and solitary hours staring into a computer monitor with few chances for socialization over the course of the day, they gave you a polite “No, thank you” and returned to professions which they found more enjoyable.

    • Larry Garfield says:

      What programming job do you have? I’ve been a professional developer for a decade, and I am talking to people all the bloody time. 🙂 Colleagues, clients… I long for long stretches of “solitary hours staring into a computer monitor”. Those are rare.

      • Bill Keating says:

        I worked for companies including Phoenix Technology and Symbol Technologies where we stayed until 6:30 every day writing and testing code in an attempt to keep our projects on schedule. We did have an hour for lunch, though.

        • Nor says:

          They outsourced all the coding jobs.

          I think you’d have a hard argument to make trying to say that women don’t want flex hours and the ability to work from home high paying jobs. Boring would be fine if it meant you got to have kids.

    • andrea says:

      Women eschewing computer science correlates with the uptake of home computers, interestingly enough:

    • Derek Diaz says:

      You are partly correct.

      They got pushed into IT by feminazi egalitatianists.
      However, they got pushed out due to low IQ and the associated lack of ability.

      • Morgan Kelly says:

        And most men get “pushed out of” the nursing profession due to a low social IQ and the associated lack of compassion.

      • Parapom says:

        That unfortunately is not supported by facts or even hearsay from real progammers. In countries where CS is not considered a male science, south africa, mexico, women’s uptake of CS is highly regarded. Many investment banks have very good female programmers.

        • Ali_Bertarian says:

          “In countries where CS is still not considered a male science, South Africa, Mexico, women’s uptake of CS is entirely self_motivated …”

          Who considers CS a male role in the US? Is it US women, who have been brought up in the schools and information media to believe that they can do everything that men can do? The societal pressure in the US is exactly the opposite of what you claim.

          South Africa and Mexico do not have gender-specific role pressures as the US supposedly does? That is beyond belief.

          • Parapom says:

            I spoke of self-motivation to choose and capability to obtain the CS degree: 36%- 46% of cs graduates are female in Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Ireland and Mexico. Even though, subsequently, they do not get employed due to what you call ”societal pressures”.

            Why she chose the field
            “My mother was a programmer and systems analyst at Aramco, Saudi Arabia [where I am from originally]. I grew up surrounded by different technologies and I remember being taught basic programming by my mother when I was in grade school. I discovered I had a knack for it.”
            On gender stereotypes
            “Ironically, I didn’t realise it was a male domain until I did my master’s. Kuwait University is one of the few universities in the world where computer science is mostly a female domain. When I moved to the US for my master’s degree, I realised that I was the only girl in the lab.”

            para 2. If you assume the interest for computer science comes from computer games there does seem to be a small amount of evidence available claiming the computer sphere as male…

            ”Connotations of “gamer” with sexism on the fringe of gaming culture has caused women to be less willing to adopt the label. While some critics have advocated use of the label as a reappropriated term,[70] others have described the term as unhelpful,[71][72] offensive, and even harmful or misleading. The word “girl”, for example, has been seen as an inherently age-linked term that glosses over the difference between women over 30 and younger women.[73] The term “girl gamer” rather than simply “gamer” has also been described as perpetuating the minority position of female gamers.[70] For many critics uncomfortable with the term “girl gamer”, its over-embracement may lead to the perpetuation of negative stereotypes[70] of female gamers as oversexualized, casual, and sometimes defiant or confrontational.[74][75] This in turn can result in poor game design.[73] These critics submit that there is no single definition of a female gamer, and that women gamers are as diverse as any other group of people.[76]
            A lack of role models for female gamers[77] contributes to a feeling that they should edit their femininity in order to maintain credibility as a gamer, and that they must fit into the caricatured role of the “girl gamer” in order to be accepted.[70] Negative stereotyping of female video game players as “girl gamers” quite often comes from male gamers who have themselves been negatively stereotyped by the broader society.[70] Social stigma against games has influenced some women to distance themselves from the term “gamer”, even though they may play regularly.[78][79][80][81] Parental influence has been theorized to perpetuate some of the stereotypes that female gamers face as boys are bought gifts like Xboxes while girls are bought girl-focused games like Barbie or other educational games.[78]
            A 2015 study found that lower-skilled male players of Halo 3 were more hostile towards teammates with a female voice, but behaved more submissively to players with a male voice. Higher-skilled male players, on the other hand, behaved more positively towards female players. The top female players in competitive gaming mainly get exposure in female-only tournaments, including such games as Counter-Strike, Dead or Alive 4, and StarCraft II.[95] According to Gamasutra’s Game Developer Salary Survey 2014, women in the United States made 86 cents for every dollar men made. Game designing woman had the closest equity, making 96 cents for every dollar men made in the same job, while audio professional women had the largest gap, making 68% of what men in the same position made.[110]Terence Chiang of, writes, “gaming as a ‘male hobby’ seems to be integrated into our society, with the computer and technology areas commonly being seen as ‘Masculine’.”[122] This social integration makes the acceptance of female entry into gaming as a legitimate pastime difficult. Research has found that 52% of the gaming world is made up of females,[123] but most remain less visible in the context of the dominant culture, due to the stereotypes between masculinity and gaming. Critics attribute the seeming lack of female interest in video games to the negative portrayal of women in video games and to misogynistic attitudes common among professional and hardcore gamers.[124]…

            • Ali_Bertarian says:

              Your thesis seems to be that there is no innate difference between male and female people. Studies of the brain and baby behavior contradict that thesis.

              Your own cited data fail to support that thesis, because none of it points to the cause being innate or cultural. For example, the reaction of male gamers to a female voice could be due to both innate and learned traits. Both you and the studies you cite assume that the reaction is cultural rather than innate, without isolating the innate and cultural influences involved, since the effects of both have played a role in the development of the gamers personalities. To claim that “… gaming as a ‘male hobby’ seems to be integrated into our society …” is an unwarranted assumption, because no attempt was made to isolate innate from cultural differences.

              It would not be surprising to discover that the deeper male voice holds greater sway over people in all societies, due to innate in-born human traits. How do you know that the cause is learned rather than innate?

      • tech33 says:

        Actually, women are quite cunning. I love tech but I sure as heck don’t want to be a drone in the field, it’s horrible for workers for a number of reasons. Women are able to get any plausible degree, exit college, and get hired quickly because “diversity.”

        Women aren’t in tech because of low IQ. They’re not in tech because they’re actually being wise. Programming as a career is horrible. Men are willing to take all the undesirable jobs, while all the women are clawing for the boardroom. There is nothing stupid about that. Btw, when was the last time HP had a male CEO??

  26. Nancy Ouyang says:

    i was at the open source hardware summit last year, where i first learned about the 40%ish peak in CS in the 1980s, and there was a provocative talk about the role of media in this shift:

  27. Bill Keating says:

    According to many sources, but I’ll use CBS news from a year ago, “in 2013, 25-34 year old women were 21 percent more likely than men to be college graduates and 48 percent more likely to have completed graduate school”

    So this news item was of course devoted to showing great concern that so many fewer men were receiving the most basic tool needed to elevate their profession and their income?

    Yeah, right. It was dedicated to the fact that women earn 78 percent of what men make. and it proceeded to wrestle with complicated reasons for this difference and how we might correct them. Then it does mention one other possible explanation:

    “Yet past gaps in education and experience appear to be contributing to a persistent pay gap between the sexes, a new report shows.”
    Oh wow, we never thought of that. The women might be earning less because we are comparing men who have been in the legal profession for 30 years with women who stand at 10 years.

    And they’ll still tell you that only explains part of it. Well, there are other subtle reasons such as women working less hours and taking more leaves for having and caring for children.

    The real reason for playing up the difference in pay and the under-representation of women in certain fields such as engineering is that this brings you research grant money, political donations, and media attention.

    And believe me, men just ridicule articles like these.

    What we need to start looking at men’s problems with equality rather than women’s is another little war like Vietnam and an accompanying draft. You never heard a word about the Equal Rights Amendment until the end of the war and the draft. What sensible woman would want an equal right to be shipped to a jungle on the opposite side of the world and have an equal chance of impaling herself on a poisoned punji stick.
    ( Really, I’m not quite that bad. The last paragraph was tongue-in-cheek. Honest.)

    • Nor says:

      Affirmative action in many colleges in the US is currently slanted in favor of male applicants. It simply isn’t enough to stem the tide. It turns out when a college degree matters more to your personal income, and you are less likely to earn as much due to gender or race, you are far more motivated to academically excel.

      If you’d like it to be even easier for men to get into college, you best hope the Supreme Court doesn’t find for that white lady in Texas with her anti-affirmative action suit. She’d best hope not either. If they drop the affirmative action for American citizens too there won’t be more than a handful of US students at any top school in this country.

      P.S. The reason why they don’t draft women is that they don’t want us all getting pregnant to avoid the draft. It would bankrupt the state to care for that many orphans/poor kids.

      • Morgan Kelly says:

        Until 51% of our government is made up of women (just like our population) and we can make decisions about whether to solve our countries’ problems through violence and warfare, or protect the rich greedy corporations (mostly benefiting rich men) through violence and warfare, I really don’t think women should be drafted, pregnant or not.

        • Kuru Limited. says:

          Well women are 51% of the country and more intelligent and capable then men, so I believe they would be the obvious choice for a draft instead of men, who are only good for making babies and manual labor.

    • Helen Anderson says:

      The 78% data, as typically reported, is a myth. The original study accounted for earnings over time that included women taking leave to have children and some never returning. There is no real, current data showing a true salary discrepancy that has been published in a reputable, peer-reviewed journal. As much as the left and femi-nazis love to cite this data – it ain’t true. In fact, the reason a true study has not been published tells me the source data probably says women earn more, and we have to keep that under wraps!

  28. Miles Bedinger says:

    I love how when you mention “health professions” you use “nursing assistant, veterinary assistant, dental assistant” rather than nurse, vet, and dentist. Clearly you respect the health profession as a major. It’s not like you’re trying to make the health profession look bad so your argument about unfair bachelors doesn’t look impotent.

    While we’re at it, shouldn’t we be trying to get more men into health professions? I mean, it’s only 15% men, while 20% of ET are women. That fact is just glossed over? Clearly an impartial report aimed at equality.

    • Randy Olson says:

      I have “assistant” appended to all of those professions because one cannot become a full nurse, vet, etc. with just a Bachelor’s degree. Those professions require a Master’s degree or higher.

      In regards to your second paragraph, see this post:

      • Miles Bedinger says:

        I see your intent, but as a masters of psychology, I can tell you probably wouldn’t become a clinical psychologist with a bachelor. And I doubt you could teach higher education with just a bachelor.

        As for the second post, thanks for representing us social science males. My masters was 4 guys and 20 women.

      • Erin says:

        “because one cannot become a full nurse, vet, etc. with just a Bachelor’s degree.”

        Uh, no they don’t. You do not even need a Bachelors degree to be a registered nurse. Some facilities (magnet ones) require it, but you can be a nurse without a bachelors degree, and a vet doesn’t require a masters either.

        And no, i’m not referring to the LVN/LPN either.

  29. Well, there are just many men who like to study about computer science even if there are a lot of things to memorize. Thus, other college majors may just fit to the taste of a women that is why they more prefer to have that particular course rather than taking any computer related courses.

  30. Bobby says:

    Why is this a problem?

    Women don’t like CS or aren’t as good at it as men due to men’s inherent visual spatial advantage.

    Nobody seems to care that women are earning 2/3’s of all degrees while men keep falling further behind.

  31. kofybean says:

    How is it possibly “discrimination against women” when men outnumber women in STEM degrees? But not Discrimination against men, when women outnumber men in total degrees?

    • Helen Anderson says:

      Logic does not apply when communicating with leftists, socialists, democratic socialists, etc.

  32. R Bonwell parker says:

    Actually, my guess is that there just weren’t very many people going into CE at all until the late 1980s, at which point all the money-chasers started getting CE degrees, almost all of whom are male.

  33. hetz says:

    “it seems the best way to meet the U.S.’s growing need for skilled programmers and engineers is to focus on recruiting more women — of any race or ethnicity — into Computer Science and Engineering majors”

    But women do not, on average, possess nearly as much aptitude for these fields as men, nor seemingly do most of them want to work in such fields. Why are differences between genders and races always seen as a problem to be “fixed”?

    • Parapom says:

      Proof? When a female studies CS she does just as well : could be better or worse than her classmates. However the take-up in countries where it is now considered a male science, is about a third of the take-up where it is still considered a gender neutral subject (South Africa, Mexico). Conclusion: this loss of up-take is down to pressure from society not natural inclination.

  34. Fred says:

    The problem in your society is clearly not discrimination against
    Yet that’s not worth doing anything about, is it.
    And YOU, yes YOU, are causing it.
    You’re not even a man … you’re a mere “male”, like countless
    millions of other “males” in your sorry nation …
    For 1 male = 1/2 man + 1/2 woman … a hybrid virtually non-
    distinguishable from a female, saved for his genitalia.

  35. Derek Diaz says:

    Theee is no dicrimination going on. There is a low IQ problem among women. Go do a pubmed search on IQ and sex,

    • Parapom says:

      Diaz.. you’ve written the same thing several times on this thread. Each time you have mis-spelt something in your sentences.
      Women do not have lower IQs than men, but I suspect your IQ is not high enough to think about anything, other than what suits your insecurities.

  36. William Keating says:

    This is really Through the Looking Glass stuff. Men now earn about 750,000 bachelors degrees a year versus over a million for women. And the differential keeps growing as the years are projected forward. The BA is the single most essential item needed for a person to have a prosperous career.

    But all these articles are only concerned with the income differential and the lack of women in technology. The number of women in tech rose along with the number of women in law and medicine. I was in the tech industry when women began gaining in percentage in tech. It came as no surprise to me that women were not fond of spending eight hours a day in solitude staring at a computer monitor. Sociable women by their own decisions got out of tech jobs. Just as men do not flock to the touchy, feely profession of nursing.

    Pay differential. Most advocates for equality admit that some differential is due to the lower working hours of women. People in the actual workplace know that women take more sick days and personal days and work less overtime. So they earn a bit less money. The recognition of women’s trade-off of working hours for family duties enabled women to enter these job fields.

    Some pay differential may still exist due to the prejudice of the most senior men in the profession. But as the new influx of women age and become much more of top management, this will correct itself.

    So why is the much greater problem of the decline in the percentage of men receiving no attention? Simplicity itself. There are millions of dollars of government and private funding for those seeking the “equality” of women, and not a cent available for those coming to the assistance of young men.

    • Helen Anderson says:

      WK – your logic and rationale thinking is not compatible with many readers from the left.

  37. Thomas Edson says:

    Thanks for the visually effective chart of the NCES data on gender in baccalaureates. Confirms my anecdotal impression of majors at my college in 2015, especially in humanities/communications and health.

  38. David says:

    Great article. Thanks for sharing article.

  39. disqus_hjnmuipWfo says:

    An interesting article for you to read:

  40. Bill Keating says:

    This article is so ridiculous that it should have POLITICALLY CORRECT stamped on it. Women entered the computer fields in increasing numbers just as they entered medicine and law in increasing numbers. While the women medical and law graduates continued to climb towards parity, those in the computer fields reversed and started to decline. Why is it a problem to take the reason on its face value: that women did not like that occupation, which has one bound to a desk for six to ten hours a day in a non-social atmosphere cramped over his or her computer?

    As a sixty year old programmer, I can attest to the fact that there is no shortage of programmers. There is a plentiful supply of Indians and Russians willing to work cheap either in the US or in their country. This can not apply in law and medicine, where you need “boots on the ground.” The younger and cheaper workers are also more likely to be up-to-date on the latest technologies.

    I interviewed for a programming position in a Manhattan company. Their entire programming staff was made up of six Russians, only two of whom could speak English well enough to interview me.

    But the most ridiculous of the article is that it doesn’t give a damn that now
    American women born in the early 1980s are 33 percent more likely to have earned a college degree by the time they reach 27 years of age than their male contemporaries, according to the results of a longitudinal study published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    We are just supposed to accept the fact that 33 percent more women than men are earning college degrees and force women into computers to solve the supposed problem.

    Why is no one looking out for the men who are showing much less academic achievement? Because there is no public and private grant money available for this research, and it doesn’t make the first page in the major feminized media.

    • Parapom says:

      Paragraph 1- 3 is what you wrote to another comment, I feel strange reading it twice.

      Read the title. Every discussion on female choices at university does not have to answer every question on male choices before they discuss female choices, and vice-versa. If you want answers,
      Google the 10000000s of studies yourself it is a valid but separate discussion written up elsewhere.

      From what I have read, cultural differences and expectations regarding male-female job aspirations are challenged more readily (read by studying) by immigrant girls/women than boys/men because the alternatives are far more precarious and fewer in number than traditional options still available to men. Even in the UK, the first and second generation immigrant community girls do better than the boys, outside of the muslim community.The framework and support network is still perceived to be there for the boys. The boys lack self-discipline (one study showing the exact effect on exam results of video-games per hour spent) and long term priority skills, preferring to cram for exams instead of learning properly. Also, more maintenance loans are available if you are a single parent with young kids at home or looking after a disabled or elderly dependant (mostly men choose not to do this). Google is a wonderful tool.

  41. “Provided that far more women attend college than men, it seems the best way to meet the U.S.’s growing need for skilled programmers and engineers is to focus on recruiting more women”

    Wow, that’s some deeply rooted feminist thinking right there. If you care about gender equality at all: Provided that far more women attend college than men, the best way to meet any educated employment needs is to incentivize more men to attend college.

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  46. itry2brational says:

    “far more women attend college than men, it seems the best way to meet the U.S.’s growing need for skilled programmers and engineers is to…”
    Recruit more men into college! After decades of pushing women into ET and them not selecting it your solution is to just push the women harder? Far more men -choose- programming and engineering and go on to -do- programming and engineering their whole career so it seems pretty darn obvious – recruit the men!!

  47. itry2brational says:

    Why is the trend of men not attending college -at all- a subordinate issue compared to the trend of women not choosing just a particular couple of male-majority specialties? We’re focused on how we -allegedly- push women out of a couple fields of study but not at all concerned that we’ve already pushed men out of education altogether.
    How educated, intelligent people can so obliviously overlook while simultaneously stating these realities is astonishing.

  48. itry2brational says:

    Why don’t all careers have to be 50/50? Why is it just certain careers where men are the majority must be artificially demographically altered but all careers where women are the majority do not? Please explain your bias.

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  53. You’ve got to be kidding me. Let’s help those poor male students that are slightly underrepresented in biology but extremely overrepresented in engineering and computer science? Have you thought that the disparity may be because those male students are mostly in T and E and not in SM?

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  55. Sarah Mona says:

    I wonder how we can work on increasing the number of male graduates in female dominated professions. So all the information is true. i’m really happy to read Pakistaneo . Enjoy the content.

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7 Pings/Trackbacks for "Percentage of Bachelor’s degrees conferred to women, by major (1970-2012)"
  1. […] I charted the trends in Bachelor’s degrees conferred to women in the U.S. using the NCES 2013 Digest of Education Statistics, and found that there has been a […]

  2. […] Randy Olson graphed the percentage of bachelor’s degrees conferred to women by major. […]

  3. […] the Flowing Data blog that I follow (lots of cool graphs and data depictions), I saw an article showing the percentage of bachelor degrees conferred to women by major from 1970-2012. It was written by Randy Olson, a current Computer Science PhD student at Michigan […]

  4. […] 8. Chart of the Day: Female share of BA degrees by major, 1970-2012. […]

  5. […] of Education Statistics to look at gender disparities in different study fields. Speaking about this study on his blog, Olson […]

  6. […] der Abteilung „Frauen* und Berufe“: Percentage of Bachelor’s degrees conferred to women, by major (1970-2012) (via Katie Mack […]

  7. […] all the controversy that arose after I posted my breakdown of college majors by gender last week, I promised myself I’d stay away from controversial gender-related topics for a […]