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Census: Women Closing in on Male-Dominated Fields


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University of Connecticut Assistant Professor Stormy Chamberlain

Assistant Professor Stormy Chamberlain at the University of Connecticut's Stem Cell Institute. Women accounted for a majority of graduates in psychology and the biological sciences in 2007, but only around 18 percent of engineering and computer science graduates.

Credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Younger generations of women are closing the gender gap in science and business and now account for nearly half of those college majors traditionally dominated by men, according to a USA Today analysis of the latest Census data.

In 2009, about 47 percent of science and engineering degree holders ages 25 to 39 were women, compared with 21 percent among those 65 and older. "Larger percentages of these professions are attracting women," says Society of Women Engineers executive director Betty Shanahan.

Women make up a majority of graduates in psychology and the biological sciences, but trail in engineering and computer science. "Girls see [engineering] as a very 'white male' profession, which it is, and they don't get messages about how they can balance their personal lives and a very exciting career," Shanahan says.

The Census data shows that compared to older generations, women under 40 had greater parity with men in such majors as humanities, business, education, and science. However, gender pay inequities persist, with a woman's median earnings about 78 percent of a man's.

From USA Today
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