The table above shows the number of bachelor’s degrees by field and gender for the College Class of 2015, ranked by the female share of each field (based on Department of Education data here). A few observations:
1. Overall, women earned 56.44% of all bachelor’s degrees in 2015, which means there were 130 women graduating from college that year for every 100 men. Women now have an uninterrupted 35-year record of earning the majority of bachelor’s degrees in the US that started back in 1982.
2. Women earned about 59% of degrees in biology, which is one of the fields in the STEM area that we hear so much about in terms of female under-representation. And actually, if you include health professions as a STEM field, women actual earn more STEM degrees than men. Or if you count biology, mathematics, and physical sciences, women earn a majority (53%) of those degrees. It’s really only when you include engineering and computer science that men have an overall majority of STEM degrees.
3. Now that Google is in the media spotlight for one of its engineer’s diversity memo, it’s interesting to note that the female share of computer science degrees (18%) is about the same as the female share of Google’s tech jobs (20%). And the female share of Google’s not-tech jobs (48%) is about the same as the female share of business bachelor’s degrees (47.4%), assuming that a business degree might be the most common college degree required for those positions.
4. Note the wide variation in degrees by gender shares. Women earn the large majority of degrees in health professions, psychology, education, English and communication, and men earn the large majority of degrees in engineering, computer science, and theology.
Q: Do these outcomes need to be socially engineered to achieve greater gender balances or do they represent natural outcomes that reflect natural differences in academic interests by gender?