female/male ratio

Hannah Dvorak DvorakH at starbase1.caltech.edu
Wed Apr 26 20:43:23 EST 1995

In article <hmcarv-2404951521500001 at macmedic.fm.ul.pt>, hmcarv at fm.ul.pt wrote:

> Hi everybody
> I'm writing from Portugal and I would like to ask for your experience in
> the following subject:
> In Portugal the percentage of female students at Universities is
> overcoming that of male students - females are now over 60% of the
> students. Certain courses, like medicine follow this percentage well.
> Still, there are very big differences between other disciplines - some
> areas like electronics or physics have a very low percentage of females
> (like 10 or 20%) whereas in others like Biology they can make about 80% of
> the students. Does this occur in your countries too? What are your
> thoughts and ideas about it?
> In science, women are also starting to predominate. The number of female
> scientists is also overcoming that of male scientists, at least in the
> area of biological sciences. All you have to do is to visit a lab to see
> that this is true. Still, when it comes to positions, especially leading
> ones, most are held by men. I don't know if there is an age effect here,
> since this change is still somewhat recent, and in the generation before
> the one graduating now, most of these percentages would not be true.
> Note: these numbers are aproximate.   
> Any coments?

I don't have any terribly reliable numbers on hand, but here's what I've
seen around me.  At Queen's University in Canada, where I was an
undergrad, the overall ratio was slightly skewed towards women, though it
varied from discipline to discipline.  For example, the ratio in
psychology was about 80% women, in biology about 60% women, but in
engineering only about 25% women.  And in my year only one woman graduated
in physics!  I think arts and humanities had slightly more women than men.

Here at Caltech the overall ratio is very skewed: about 3 or 4 men for
every woman among the undergrads.  Most undergrads are majoring in
engineering, and there are no arts or humanities majors offered.  At the
graduate student level, it's about 50-50 in my field, biology.  However,
in engineering, it seems to be about 75% men.  The ratios are similar at
the postdoc level.  At the professorial level, we have 5 tenured women and
23 tenured men in biology.

- Hannah

Hannah Dvorak                           |
DvorakH at starbase1.caltech.edu           |
Division of Biology 156-29              | Ceci n'est pas un .sig.
California Institute of Technology      |
Pasadena, CA 91125                      |

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