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Computer science course enrollment, test scores, and computer-use
figures indicate a disparity between boys and girls in technology. Research
indicates that girls are more likely to take lower-end computing classes
(e.g., data entry or word processing), less likely to identify computer
science as a possible college major, and less likely to use computers on
a weekly basis.
Girls display what one researcher
reticence," in part because culture and stereotypes steer them
away from machines.
More personal computers were purchased for homes
with boys than for homes with girls. This results in boys getting
more experience with computers and thus being more comfortable with
A 1994 study of high school students found that the
lack of knowledge of technological careers, the failure to connect
what students were doing in class with future careers, and the lack
of a sense of economic realities were particularly discouraging to
girls, because they had less information about technology from experiences
There is a major difference in attitude between girls
who chose to take technology education and those who did not;
only a few girls were willing to be "pathbreakers" and
challenge stereotypes about nontraditional careers for women.
Most girls could
not picture themselves in technological jobs and were reluctant
to be in classes where they were one of the few girls.
Girls represent 17 percent of the
Computer Science "AP" test
takers, and less than 1 in 10 of the higher level Computer Science "AB" test
Women are roughly 20 percent of IT professionals.
less than 28 percent of the computer science bachelor's degrees, down from a high of 37 percent in
1984. Computer science is the only field in which women's participation
has actually decreased over time.
Women make up just 9 percent of the recipients of
engineering-related bachelor's degrees.
which did not exist at the beginning of the 20th Century, computer
scientists and analysts, for example,
have become increasingly important in the information technology
revolution. Yet, women's employment in this important field
is actually falling behind, widening the occupational gap
between women and men.
Nearly 75% of tomorrow's jobs
will require use of computers; fewer than 33% of participants
courses and related activities are girls.
Sixteen percent fewer girls than boys reported
ever talking to their parents about science and technology issues.
Computers and computer games are marketed almost
exclusively to boys, and even those games purportedly for both
sexes, such as elementary math software, reflect sexist attitudes:
only 12 percent of the characters in such games are female, even
then they are generally portrayed as either a mother or a princess.
More personal computers were purchased for homes
with boys than for homes with girls. This results in boys
getting more experience with computers and thus being more
comfortable with them.
A 1994 study of high school students found that
the lack of knowledge of technological careers, the failure
to connect what students were doing in class with future
careers, and the lack of a sense of economic realities were particularly
discouraging to girls, because they had less information
technology from experiences outside school.
There is a major difference in attitude between
girls who chose to take technology education and those
who did not; only a few girls were willing to be "pathbreakers" and
challenge stereotypes about nontraditional careers for
women. Most girls could not picture themselves in technological
and were reluctant to be in classes where they were one
of the few girls.
Females score slightly higher in computation,
males slightly higher in complex problem solving, and there are
no differences in math concepts.
Women are the majority (56
percent) of students enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate
and, as a group, have surpassed men in degree attainment
at the associate,
bachelor, and master 's levels.
Adolescent women who like math are more confident
about their appearance than are all adolescent men, whether or
not they like math (and [more] than adolescent women who do not
like math). And young women who like math and science worry less
about others liking them.
Math and science have the strongest relationship
on self-esteem for young women, and as they 'learn' that
they are not good at these topics their sense of self-worth
and aspirations for themselves deteriorate.
Overall, girls either with or without disabilities
had better school results than boys with and without disabilities.
They received better grades, were more likely to graduate from
high school, and were less likely to get suspended or expelled
Despite better academic performance, girls with
disabilities have less positive post school results than boys
with disabilities. Fewer women than men with disabilities participate
in postsecondary education and training in the years after high
A larger percentage of women than men take postsecondary
courses at four-year colleges while a smaller percentage of women
enroll in job training programs and two-year colleges.
In 1999: 11 percent of countries have achieved
gender equality in secondary education enrollment; 51 percent
of countries have a lower enrollment ratio for girls than for
boys; 38 percent of countries have a lower enrollment ratio for
boys than girls
Sixty-eight percent of instructors in teacher education programs spend two hours
or less per semester on gender equity.
Overall, females continue to do better than males in reading and writing. For
example, in 1996, male eleventh graders scored 275 on the National Assessment
of Educational Progress (NAEP), about the same as female eighth graders.
Pregnancy and/or parenting are the leading reason girls give for dropping
out of school: 43 percent of female dropouts cite marriage and/or pregnancy
reason. Specific factors that seem to influence females more than males
to drop out include having a large number of siblings, mothers with low levels
education, low academic achievement, and low self-esteem.
Girls have increased the kinds of math and science courses
they take in high school. For example, in 1998, more girls took algebra II and
geometry than in
1990. Taking these courses by the ninth and tenth grades is seen as a major predictor
of a student's continuing to college.
As females progress through school and into college and graduate school, despite
their frequently higher course grades they score lower on standardized tests
than males do and take fewer advanced courses. They also drop out of mathematics,
science, and/or technology earlier than males do.
Women are the majority (56 percent) of students enrolled
in both undergraduate and graduate institutions and, as a group, have surpassed
men in degree attainment
at the associate, bachelor, and master's levels.
About 24 percent of the U.S. population 25 years or older has
four years or more of education, that figure is 29 percent for white males
and 24 percent for white
females. It is 14 percent for African American women, 12.5 percent for African
American men, 10 percent for Latinas and 11 percent for Latinos. (Data are not
available for American Indians.)
The percentage of women earning first professional degrees has increased dramatically.
For example, in dentistry women increased from less than 10 percent in 1970 to
36 percent in 1996; in medicine women increased from less than 10 percent in
1970 to 41 percent in 1996; and in law women increased from less than 10 percent
in 1970 to 44 percent in 1996.
Women still lag behind men in earning Ph.D.'s and professional degrees. In 1996, despite the higher number of women receiving bachelor's degrees, women were awarded less than half (15,075) of the 33,195 Ph.D.'s
conferred that year.
White women received 12,655 Ph.D.'s (38 percent), compared with only 78 Ph.D.'s (.02 percent) for American Indian/Alaska Native women. Similar disparities exist for Latinas, African American, and Asian American women, who received 1, 3, and 3 percent, respectively, of Ph.D.'s
Women continue to be concentrated in fields that historically have been dominated
by women. In 1996 women earned 75 percent of education degrees, the same rate
as in 1970. In engineering, women went from less than 1 percent in 1970 to 16
percent in 1996.
Only 16 percent of all women with disabilities are likely to
have any college education, compared with 31 percent of nondisabled women and
28 percent of men
with disabilities. For women with disabilities who do go on to college, little
is known about their specific needs and how colleges and universities can meet
In 1995, women constituted only 35 percent of full-time higher education faculty,
an increase of only 6 percent since 1987.
In 1996, 46 percent of all Hispanic women age 25 and older
had less than a high school diploma. Twenty-seven percent were high school
graduates; 13 percent had some college; 9 percent were college graduates; and
5 percent had associate degrees.
Of all Hispanic women age 25 and over who were labor force
participants in 1996, 32 percent had less than a high school diploma; 31 percent
were high school graduates; 17 percent had some college; 8 percent had an associate's
degree; and the remaining 12 percent were college graduates.
In 1996, Hispanic women who had less than a high school diploma
participated at a rate of 38 percent; high school graduates, with no college,
62.8 percent; and college graduates, 75.6 percent. Hispanic women with less
than a high school diploma had an unemployment rate of 13.4 percent; high school
graduates, with no college, 7 percent; and college graduates, 4.2 percent.
The underrepresentation of
women in the sciences is not simply a function of a failure to attact women
to the field, but also, and perhaps more importantly, a function of that
climate. . .
Thirty-four percent of high school aged girls reported
being advised by a faculty member not to take senior math.
The school climate for women and girls is also marred
by violence, including sexual harassment (defined as unwanted and unwelcome
behavior of a sexual nature). Girls are the primary targets of sexual harassment,
particularly unattractive or unstylish girls, physically mature girls, as
well as boys not fitting the male stereotype.
Work & Economy
In 1996, women were less than 1 percent of auto mechanics (0.6
percent), carpenters (0.9 percent), plumbers (0.7 percent), and only 1.1 percent
of electricians, and 3.5 percent of welders.
The clustering of women in traditionally female occupations
directly limits women's earning power. For example, in 1996 engineers had
median weekly earnings of $949; in contrast, for elementary school teachers' median
weekly earnings that year were $662, about 30 percent less.
Gender stereotypes about careers still limit students' interest
and participation in career options. Developmental research by Linda Gottfredson
found that children begin to eliminate careers because they are the wrong "sextype" between
the ages of 6 and 8.
Although more women than ever before are in the workforce,
more than half (59 percent) of all women workers are still concentrated in
sales, clerical, and service positions.
In 1994 (most recent data available), although women constituted
68 percent of public elementary and secondary school teachers, they represented
only 24 percent of elementary and secondary school principals.
A gap in the career aspirations of boys and girls in science
or engineering exists as early as eighth grade. While male and female high
school seniors are equally likely to expect a career in science or mathematics,
male seniors are much more likely than their female counterparts to expect
a career in engineering.
Twenty-three percent of Latinas, 14 percent of African
American women, and 7 percent of white women dropped out of high school in
Higher education lifts women out of poverty and increases their
earnings over other women. Women with a college degree earned almost $11,000
more than women with a high school diploma ($26,841 versus $15,970) in 1995.
Out of all persons in the labor force for at least half of
1996 (the most recent year for which data are available), those with less than
a high school diploma had a higher poverty rate (16 percent) than high school
graduates (6 percent). Workers with an associate's or a four-year college
degree reported the lowest poverty rates, 3 and 1.5 percent, respectively.
Men earn more than women do even when they have lower levels
of education. In 1995, men with a bachelor's degree earned $46,111 while
women earned $26,841. That same year, men with a high school diploma earned
only about $500 less than women with a bachelor's degree ($26,333 versus
$26,841). That year a white man with a high school diploma earned more than
a woman college graduate of any racial, ethnic, socio-economic, or ability
Women earn less than men in the same fields from the start.
In 1993 women college graduates generally received lower starting salaries
than the men in their graduating class. In social and behavioral sciences,
men had a median starting salary about $2,800 more than women in their field.
For business majors, men received $4,000 more than women.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that women will
increase to 47.5 percent of the labor force by 2008.
Although the employment gap is not widening between women and
men engineers, there is still a stubbornly wide gap between their numbers,
with women making up only 10.6 percent of all engineers in 1999. Engineering,
like occupations in the physical sciences and mathematics, is slow to attract
Of the 61.9 million women in the civilian labor force in 1996,
4.9 million (8.3 percent) were of Hispanic origin. The labor force participation
rate for Cuban women was 53.3 percent; for Mexican women, 52.8 percent; and
for Puerto Rican women, 47.4 percent.
The number of Hispanic women outside the labor force has been
increasing steadily over the past decade at a rate of about 137,000 women per
year. Slightly more than half-5.1 million out of 9.6 million-of all Hispanic
women were either working or looking for work in 1996, and 4.5 million were
not in the labor force.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that the female
Hispanic labor force should grow from 4.8 million in 1994 to about 6.9 million
in 2005 and that their labor force participation rate will be 53.6 percent.
This 43 percent increase will be the greatest among almost all other groups
of women or men.
Women leave science and engineering careers twice as frequently
as men. M. J. Brodie, "Advancing Women Through Engineering," Career
Engineering, June 1996
Women's salaries in science and engineering
lag behind men's by 12 to 15 percent.
Women's share of administrative and managerial employment
was higher in the 1990s than it was in the 1980s in 51 out of the 59 countries
for which data is available.
Women's share of administrative and managerial employment
was 30 percent or more in 16 countries in the 1990s. This is higher than the
number of countries (8) in which women have 30 percent or more seats in parliament.
United States ranks highest among countries in women's
share in decision making in management and in the economy.
In 1997, globally, women employed in industry and services
typically earned 78 percent of what men in the same sector earned, though in
some countries it was as low as 53 percent and in others as high as 97 percent.
In 22 out of 29 countries, the gender gap in earnings in industry
and services fell from the 1980s to the 1990s.
A narrowing of the gender gap in earnings does not necessarily
mean an increase in women's living standards. The gap can narrow as a result
of men's wages falling faster than women's, with declines in real earnings
of both women and men.
In 1998, among working age people, only 2.5 million
or 28.5% of women with a work disability and only 2.7 million or 32.3% of men
with a work disability participated in the labor force. In contrast, 59.7 million
or 75.8% of women with no work disability and 68.2 million or 89.1% of men
with no work disability participated in the labor force.
According to data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation
(1994-95), only 24.7% of women with severe disabilities have a job or business.
Roughly 68% of women with non-severe disabilities are employed compared to
a 75% employment rate for women with no disabilities. Most women with disabilities
work in technical, sales, and administrative support positions.
Women with disabilities make of the smallest percentage of
the labor force. In the 1990s there have been no significant gains in employment
percentages of women with disabilities.
When controlling for other factors, young men with disabilities
earn $1,814 more per year than young women with disabilities.
Women are more likely to be living in poverty than men, and
people with a work disability are much more likely to be living below the poverty
level than those with no work disability.
In 1992, women aged 16 to 64 years with a work
disability had higher poverty rates (33.8%) than men with a work disability
About forty percent (40.5%) of women with a severe work disability
are living in poverty, compared to 31.2% of men with a severe work disability.
2 out of every 3 adults on the planet are women. Yet only 12
percent of elected representatives in the world's legislatures are women.
Only 24 women have been elected heads of state or government in this century.
Around the world, women are paid an average of 30 to 40 percent
less than men for the same work. Out of every 4 households throughout the globe,
1 is headed by a woman.
Women are 73% of the elementary and secondary school teachers,
but only 35% of the principals.
Equal opportunity, as we have learned, is more than an open
gate. It is the appropriate complement of skills and fundamental self-esteem
that makes that open gate meaningful. To just open the gate is to engage in
a cruel gesture, no matter how innocently it is done.
Women and men who had taken at least 8 credits of math in college
(usually calculus) made more money than those who did not.
Gender & Masculinities
Boys have a higher prevalence rate of disability than girls. Eight and a half
million children and youth 21 years and younger have a disability. Boys and young
men (12%) are more likely than girls and young women (8%) to have a disability.
Although girls and boys are equally represented in the school-age population,
boys comprise about two-thirds of students in special education. The greatest
discrepancies exist in the categories of learning disability and emotional disturbance,
which have the most broadly defined eligibility criteria.
Computers and computer games are marketed almost exclusively
to boys, and even those games purportedly for both sexes, such as elementary
math software, reflect sexist attitudes: only 12 percent of the characters
in such games are female, even then they are generally portrayed as either
a mother or a princess.