Women and minorities: their proportions grow in the professional work force Essay

The 1984 annual edition of Professional Women and Minorities recordsthe increasing participation of women and minorities in the professions,noting in particular gains by women.

The Scientific ManpowerCommission, which sponsored the study, reports these findings: Women. In 1970, women earned 41.5 percent of the bachelor’sdegrees, 39.7 percent of th master’s degrees, and 13.

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3 percent ofthe doctorate degrees awarded. However, by 1982, women were earningmore than half of the bachelor’s (50.3 percent) and master’s(50.8 percent) degrees and 32 percent of the doctorates. Despite the entry of so many women, growth of the professionallabor force has slowed since the 1960’s. This is especiallyevident in science and engineering, where the number of bachelor’sdegrees rose less than 1 percent between 1974 and 1982, even thoughthere was a 21-percent increase in the number of women earning thesedegrees. At the doctoral level, while total science and engineering degreeawards declined slightly from 1973 to 1983, the change resulted from adrop of 15.

4 percent in the number awarded to men and an increase in thenumber awarded to women. By 1983, the proportion of women with thesedegrees had risen to 25.7 percent from 12.9 percent in 1973. Although the female proportion of scientists in the labor force isstill below their proportion in recent graduating classes, women nowmake up 41 percent of life scientists, 23 percent of chemists, 18percent of geological scientists, 30 percent of mathematicians andcomputer specialists, 6 percent of engineers, and 57 percent ofpsychologists. Their proportions are less in the doctoral population,but are growing.

The growth in the number of engineers has been so rapid in the pastdecade that their 5 percent proportion in the work force is well belowtheir present proportion among students and graduates. Their share ofbachelor’s degrees has grown from less than 1 percent in 1970 to13.2 percent in 1983; from less than 1 percent to 9.

0 percent at themaster’s level; and from 0.9 percent to 4.7 percent at the doctorallevel. The fall 1983 freshman class include 17 percent women. Minorities.

The report also shows that minorities are increasingtheir participation in the engineering field–growing from 0.9 percentof bachelor’s graduates in 1970 to 9.5 percent in 1983.Asian/Pacific Islanders had the largest representation of any minoritygroup in this field, having doubled their share of all engineeringdegrees since 1973. The number of black engineering degrees since 1973.

The number of black engineers graduating at the bachelor’s levelhad risen from 657 in 1973 to 1,842 in 1983, while their proportion oftotal graduates had moved from 1.5 to 2.5 percent. Except for Asian/Pacific Islanders, minorities continue to beunderrepresented in the physical and mathematical sciences, where theyearned 9.6 percent of the bachelor’s, 7.4 percent of themaster’s, and 5.3 percent of the doctorate degrees given in 1982.

However, a significant percentage of these degrees, especially at thegraduate level, are earned by Asian Americans. Particularly at the graduate level, the proportions of graduateswho are foreign nationals on temporary visas has grown significantlyover the decade. In engineering, for example, foreign students earned3.3 percent of the bachelor’s, 11.9 percent of the master’s,and 12.

1 percent of the doctorate degrees awarded by U.S. schools in1969. By 1983, their share had risen to 8.5 percent of thebachelor’s, 25.

8 percent of the master’s, and 39.4 percent ofthe doctorate degrees. Women and minorities. In the professional fields, both women andminorities have substantially increased their proportion of bothgraduates, and to a lesser extent, the labor force. Women earned 27percent of the medical degrees awarded in 1983, and minorities, 10percent. Their proportionate share in 1971 were 9.

2 and 0.2 percent.Women are now 16 percent of all physicians, and minorities, 17 percent.

Women are 16 percent of lawyers, 27 percent of pharmacists, and 38percent of economists. Minorities constitute 5 percent of architects,7.5 percent of dentists, and 5.5 percent of lawyers. Women’s and minorities’ employment in higher education had grown slowly during the 1970s. Women continue to bedisproportionately overrepresented among nonfaculty researchers inhigher education, while men are disproportionately overrepresented inthe tenured faculty. In 1983, women accounted for 19 percent of facultyin universities and 37 percent of faculty in public 2-year colleges.Only 51 percent of the female faculty in all higher educationalinstitutions had tenure in 1983, compared with 70 percent of the malefaculty.

Women’s proportion among scientists and engineers atacademic institutions has increased slowly. Between 1974 and 1983,women rose from 13.4 to 17.6 percent of mathematicians; from 9.8 to 13percent of chemists; from 19.7 to 24.8 percent of biologists; and from21.

3 to 26.5 percent of psychologists employed at academic institutions.More than half of the college teachers in English, foreign languages,health specialties, and home economics are women, but they are less than5 percent of the total in engineering and physics. THE FULL REPORT, entitled Professional Women and Minorities–AManpower Data Resource Service, fifth edition, presents a comprehensivestatistical picture of the professional work force.

The foregoingsummary is based on the press release announcing the report. Copies ofthe 288-page volume may be obtained from the Scientific ManpowerCommission, 1776 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.

Washington, D.C. 200236.Price: $70.


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