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Higher Ed in the News

Attracting more female science students

July 22, 2009

In 2006, women earned 58 percent of all bachelor's degrees, but only 20 percent of computer science bachelor's degrees, 21 percent of physics degrees and 20 percent of engineering degrees, according to data from the National Science Foundation.

On July 21, a Subcommittee on Research and Science Education came to the consensus that the landscape of scientists and engineers is certainly a lot more diverse that it was 20 years ago, but serious gender gaps remain.

Witness Sandra Hanson, a professor of sociology at Catholic University and a researcher on women in science, said that higher education is not immune from the sexism associated with scientific fields, which can often deter women in large classes. Providing small hands-on classes is one step towards integrating women who might not feel comfortable in the environment of science academics.

Hanson also said that universities should provide additional support to help women get up to speed, or even form partnerships with high schools to help female students prepare early.


Read more from Inside Higher Ed.