Women Show Gains in Science and Math

A REPORT by the National Center for Education Statistics shows that women have made some strides in science in the United States but still lag behind men.

The most recent information from 1990 showed that males earned an average of 2.87 credits in science and 3.11 in mathematics in US high schools.

Females attained an average of 2.78 credits in science and 3.08 credits in mathematics in high school.

``You have to remember that all students are required to take a certain amount of science and math in high school,'' says Rosa Cano, co-director of a New Jersey Institute of Technology program that is designed to keep young girls interested in the sciences and math.

At higher levels, the federal data show a more significant divergence. About 47 percent of the 14,661 US undergraduates majoring in mathematics were females in 1991, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Forty percent of the 3,615 students earning a master's degree in the subject that year were women, but females made up only 19 percent of the 978 people earning math doctorates in 1991.

Thirty-one percent of the 16,344 college students earning degrees in the physical sciences in 1991 were women. Of the 5,309 total students earning a master's degree that year, females made up about 28 percent. Nineteen percent of the 4,290 total doctoral degrees in the subject were earned by women in 1991.

The federal data did not break down the physical sciences into specialities such as chemistry, physics, biology, and others.

In engineering, 14 percent of the total 78,864 US undergraduate degrees were awarded to women in 1991. Females earned 14 percent of the 24,959 master's degrees that year and 9 percent of the 5,272 doctorates in the subject.

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