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

The 1984 annual edition of Professional Women and Minorities records the increasing participation of women and minorities in the professions, noting in particular gains by women. The Scientific Manpower Commission, which sponsored the study, reports these findings:

Women. In 1970, women earned 41.5 percent of the bachelor's degrees, 39.7 percent of th master's degrees, and 13.3 percent of the doctorate degrees awarded. However, by 1982, women were earning more 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 professional labor force has slowed since the 1960's. This is especially evident in science and engineering, where the number of bachelor's degrees rose less than 1 percent between 1974 and 1982, even though there was a 21-percent increase in the number of women earning these degrees.

At the doctoral level, while total science and engineering degree awards declined slightly from 1973 to 1983, the change resulted from a drop of 15.4 percent in the number awarded to men and an increase in the number awarded to women. By 1983, the proportion of women with these degrees had risen to 25.7 percent from 12.9 percent in 1973.

Although the female proportion of scientists in the labor force is still below their proportion in recent graduating classes, women now make up 41 percent of life scientists, 23 percent of chemists, 18 percent of geological scientists, 30 percent of mathematicians and computer specialists, 6 percent of engineers, and 57 percent of psychologists. Their proportions are less in the doctoral population, but are growing.

The growth in the number of engineers has been so rapid in the past decade that their 5 percent proportion in the work force is well below their present proportion among students and graduates. Their share of bachelor's degrees has grown from less than 1 percent in 1970 to 13.2 percent in 1983; from less than 1 percent to 9.0 percent at the master's level; and from 0.9 percent to 4.7 percent at the doctoral level. The fall 1983 freshman class include 17 percent women.

Minorities. The report also shows that minorities are increasing their participation in the engineering field--growing from 0.9 percent of bachelor's graduates in 1970 to 9.5 percent in 1983. Asian/Pacific Islanders had the largest representation of any minority group in this field, having doubled their share of all engineering degrees since 1973. The number of black engineering degrees since 1973. The number of black engineers graduating at the bachelor's level had risen from 657 in 1973 to 1,842 in 1983, while their proportion of total graduates had moved from 1.5 to 2.5 percent.

Except for Asian/Pacific Islanders, minorities continue to be underrepresented in the physical and mathematical sciences, where they earned 9.6 percent of the bachelor's, 7.4 percent of the master's, and 5.3 percent of the doctorate degrees given in 1982. However, a significant percentage of these degrees, especially at the graduate level, are earned by Asian Americans.

Particularly at the graduate level, the proportions of graduates who are foreign nationals on temporary visas has grown significantly over the decade. In engineering, for example, foreign students earned 3.3 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 in 1969. By 1983, their share had risen to 8.5 percent of the bachelor's, 25.8 percent of the master's, and 39.4 percent of the doctorate degrees.

Women and minorities. In the professional fields, both women and minorities have substantially increased their proportion of both graduates, and to a lesser extent, the labor force. Women earned 27 percent of the medical degrees awarded in 1983, and minorities, 10 percent. 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 38 percent 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 be disproportionately overrepresented among nonfaculty researchers in higher education, while men are disproportionately overrepresented in the tenured faculty. In 1983, women accounted for 19 percent of faculty in universities and 37 percent of faculty in public 2-year colleges. Only 51 percent of the female faculty in all higher educational institutions had tenure in 1983, compared with 70 percent of the male faculty. Women's proportion among scientists and engineers at academic institutions has increased slowly. Between 1974 and 1983, women rose from 13.4 to 17.6 percent of mathematicians; from 9.8 to 13 percent of chemists; from 19.7 to 24.8 percent of biologists; and from 21.3 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 than 5 percent of the total in engineering and physics.

THE FULL REPORT, entitled Professional Women and Minorities--A Manpower Data Resource Service, fifth edition, presents a comprehensive statistical picture of the professional work force. The foregoing summary is based on the press release announcing the report. Copies of the 288-page volume may be obtained from the Scientific Manpower Commission, 1776 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 200236. Price: $70.
COPYRIGHT 1985 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Feb 1, 1985
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