In 2003, the National Science Foundation (NSF) identified 492,440 doctoral scientists and engineers (or 685,300 if the social sciences and psychology are included) (NSF, 2006). Most of these doctoral scientists and engineers worked full-time. However, women were slightly less likely to be employed full-time.

In a previous analysis of SDR data, the National Research Council (NRC) (2001a:64) found “after completion of the doctorate, a greater proportion of women than men do not attain full-time careers in science and engineering.” For example, in 1973, 91 percent of male scientists and engineers were working full­time, compared to 71 percent of females. By 1995, this 20 percent gap had been reduced to around 10 percent—partly because the percentage of men working full­time dropped.[106] For all years surveyed, women were more likely than men to be not working and not seeking work, or working part-time. For most years examined, women were more likely than men to be not working, but seeking work. About

TABLE A2-1 Percentage of Women Among Science And Engineering Doctorates, 1996 and 2005

Field

1996

2005

2005-1996

Science and engineering

31.7

37.7

6.0

Science

37.6

43.4

5.8

Agricultural sciences

27.2

36.2

9.0

Biological sciences

42.2

48.8

6.6

Computer sciences

15.1

19.8

4.7

Earth, atmospheric, and oceanic sciences

21.0

34.1

13.1

Mathematics

20.6

27.1

6.5

Physical sciences

21.9

26.7

4.8

Astronomy

21.4

26.3

4.9

Chemistry

28.2

34.0

5.8

Physics

13.0

15.0

2.0

Psychology

66.7

68.0

1.3

Social sciences

36.5

44.7

8.2

Engineering

12.3

18.3

6.0

Aeronautical/astronautical engineering

8.4

13.2

4.8

Chemical engineering

17.9

24.0

6.1

Civil engineering

11.3

23.2

11.9

Electrical engineering

9.7

13.4

3.7

Industrial/manufacturing engineering

19.7

18.5

-1.2

Materials/metallurgical engineering

14.6

22.2

7.6

Mechanical engineering

7.4

12.3

4.9

Other engineering

16.6

23.8

7.2

SOURCE: Hill (2006). Adapted from Table 3.

4 percent of female S&E doctorates were not working and not seeking work. These were fully trained doctorates who were not working in S&E.[107]

“Employment status” consisted of four mutually exclusive categories: employed full-time, employed part-time, unemployed but seeking work, and unemployed and not seeking work. Figure A2-2 examines full-time employment and compares the percentages of full-time employed doctoral scientists and engineers[108] to the total number of doctoral scientists and engineers. As this figure shows, women were less likely to be employed full-time than men, although the rate for both men and women was dropping slightly over time, and the gap was closing.

90

image36

1995 1997 1999 2001 2003

Year

□ Female DMale

FIGURE A2-2 Percentage of all doctoral scientists and engineers who were employed full-time by gender, 1995-2003.

SOURCE: National Science Foundation, Survey of Doctorate Recipients, 1995-2003. Tabulated by the NRC.

This finding was consistent with the earlier work of NRC (2001a) and others, who employed different analyses. For example, the NSF (WMPDSE, 2002) noted “women with either an S&E degree or in an S&E occupation are less likely than men to be in the labor force (that is, either employed or seeking employment). Among those in the labor force, women were more likely than men to be unem­ployed.” The NSF also noted:

A higher percentage of women than men with either an S&E degree or in an S&E occupation are employed part time. Of those who were employed in 1999,

19 percent of women and 6 percent of men were employed part-time. Women who are employed part-time are less likely than men to prefer full-time employ­ment. Also, women who are employed part-time are far more likely than men to cite family responsibilities as the reason for their employment status: 48 percent of the women working part-time and 12 percent of the men cited family

responsibilities as the reason for their work status in 1999. On the other hand, 41 percent of men and 8 percent of women cited retirement as the reason for part-time employment. Thus, as with unemployment, variations in male/female age distribution, as well as varying family responsibilities, are factors in part­time employment choices.[109]

Figure A2-3 examines the proportion of women among full-time employed doctoral scientists and engineers between 1995 and 2003. The proportion of women among those employed full-time, while still small, was rising slowly. Increases “in the number of women among new Ph. D.s do not translate directly into increases in the proportion of women in the science and engineering labor force. Each new cohort of Ph. D.s represents only a small fraction of the total num­ber of scientists and engineers. The proportion of women in the S&E labor force must increase slowly as older, predominantly male cohorts retire and are replaced by new cohorts that have a greater proportion of women” (NRC, 2001a:63).