..that gender differences entry into science and engineering can arise both from differences in the socioeconomic backgrounds of individuals and from differences in access to education." (2001) the following table labeled Figure 1 lists the total number of Ph.D.s in the Labor Force by Sex, Field, and Year of Survey as stated in the work of Long (2001)
Total Number of Ph.D.s in the Labor Force, by Sex, Field, and Year of Survey (Long, 2001)
Engineering Men Women Men Women
Mathematical Sciences Men Women Men Women
Probability & Statistics
Physical Sciences Men Women Men Women
Long (2001) states that evidence exists supporting the idea that inequitable treatment of women in science and engineering is a reality and that the study of Long (2001) accomplished this through: "....citations of historical events and anecdotal accounts. Such information makes it painfully clear that some, and probably many, women faced obstacles that men did not. While stories of overt discrimination against women in science and engineering are increasingly rare and federal legislation has eliminated blatantly discriminatory policies for the treatment of women, we believe that despite the massive progress since 1973, the assertion by Harriet Zuckerman and Jonathan R.Cole in 1975 may still be, albeit to a lesser extent, an accurate characterization of the situation facing women in science." (Long, 2001) Long states: "The principle of the triple penalty, as we have observed, asserts that women scientists are triply handicapped...first by having to overcome barriers to their entering science, second by the psychic consequences of perceived discrimination -- limited aspirations -- and third by actual discrimination in the allocation of opportunities and rewards." (2001) Recommendations for research stated by Long (2001) include the statement that proof exists supporting the belief that "familial obligations affect women differently than men and affect the transition from the Ph.D. To the full-time scientific and engineering labor force." Secondly stated by Long (2001) is that "a key to the full integration of women in science and engineering is the increase in their numbers. To this end, efforts need to be continued to overcome the greater attrition of girls and young women on the path to the Ph.D., and entry into a scientific career. Future studies are needed of the effectiveness of programs to attract and retain girls and women in science and engineering." (Long, 2001) the work entitled: "Higher Education for Science and Engineering" published in 1989 and published by the Congress of the United States, Office of Technology Assessment states: "A strategy to increase the supply and quality of young scientists and engineers must be based on an understanding of the unique problems fostered by demographic change. Such strategies should include recruiting more students into science and engineering majors, particularly the undertapped resources of women and minorities; retaining more of these through higher degrees and into technical careers; and bolstering the college and university infrastructure for instruction and research. Special programs that prepare students, provide them with academic and social support, and involve them in hands-on research, help keep students in science." (1989) the following table labeled Figure 2 lists the Freshmen's Planned Majors and Careers by Type of Institution Attended during the Fall of 1987.
Freshmen's Planned Majors and Careers by Type of Institution Attended, Fall 1987 in percent)
Source: Congress of the United States, Office of Technology Assessment (1989)
It is additionally stated in this report by the Congress of the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment that among freshmen "the proportion of women planning to pursue NSE majors increased slightly between 1978 and 1986, from 31 to 33. However, women are more likely to drop out of science and engineering majors and women's degree-taking in science and engineering overall has plateaued." (1988) This work notes that limited career opportunities have been found to be one reason that interest in science and engineering degrees by women are stifled.
Several factors have been noted in this study to affect women's entry into science and engineering programs of study and ultimately their entry into science and engineering professions. One of the primary reasons that women fail to stay in science and engineering programs has been noted in this study to be family and childcare responsibilities. A second factor found to affect women in science and engineering professions are the limited opportunities of employment that women conceive as being available for them in these professions. Historically, this study has noted the failure of schools and universities to encourage women in these fields of study as these fields were both historically and traditionally viewed as fields of study that men predominantly attained an education towards professional employment more so than women.
The findings in this study include the historical and traditional failure of institutions to encourage women to study in the fields of science and engineering as well as the failure of institutions and organizations to employ women in these fields as the same rate as they employ men in the fields of science and engineering. This has resulted in women viewing their future return on investment that they input to education and training not worth the effort of time and expense invested.
IMPLICATIONS for FUTURE RESEARCH
Future research should focus on the incentives that might be provided to women that would enable them to enter the fields of science and engineering and as well upon what might incentives or assistance might enable women to remain in these fields upon having chosen these fields for their study and career profession.
Ramirez, F.O. And Wotipka, C.M. (2001) Slowly but Surely? The Global Expansion of Women's Participation in Science and Engineering Fields of Study, 1972-92
Sociology of Education, Vol. 74, No. 3 (Jul., 2001), pp. 231-251
American Sociological Association.
Gender Differences in the Careers of Academic Scientists and Engineers: A Literature Review (2003) National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics
Arlington, VA (NSF 03-322) [July 2003]
Higher Education for Science and Engineering (1989) U.S. Congress Office of Technology and Engineering. A Background Paper. Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, March 1989.