2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


BURRELLI, Joan, SBE Science Resources Statistics Div, National Sci Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22230 and SUITER, Marilyn J., EHR Human Resource Development Div, National Sci Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22230, jburrell@nsf.gov

The 2004 NSF report, "Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering" (NSF 04-317) shows differences in the participation of men, women, racial/ethnic groups, and persons with disabilities in both education and employment in scientific and engineering (S&E) fields. This abstract targets data on the participation of those groups in the geosciences based on this report and other publicly available data.

Women are an increasing share of degree earners and graduate students in S&E and the geosciences. Women earned over half of S&E bachelor's degrees and 37 percent of S&E doctoral degrees in 2001. In the geosciences, women earned 41 percent of the bachelor's degrees and 32 percent of the doctoral degrees. In 2001, women constituted 41 percent of all S&E graduate students, and 42 percent of graduate students in the geosciences, up from 34 and 31 percent respectively in 1991.

Data on underrepresented ethnic minorities -- Blacks/African-Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and American Indians/Alaska Natives -- show steady, although small, increases in the number of S&E degrees earned, however the geosciences remain predominantly white and male. In 2001, 87 percent of the geoscience bachelor's degrees were earned by whites, compared to 67 percent of biological sciences bachelor's degrees, 71 percent of mathematics bachelor's degrees, and 69 percent of physical sciences bachelor's degrees. Out of 106,648 Black/African-American bachelor's degree recipients in 2001, only 56 got their degrees in geosciences. As one goes up the educational ladder, the numbers get smaller. Underrepresented minorities constituted 5 percent of graduate geoscience enrollment and 10 percent of graduate S&E enrollment in 2001. Among U.S. citizens and permanent residents, 4 percent of geoscience doctorates and 9 percent of S&E doctorates and were earned by underrepresented minorities.

As is the case in S&E as a whole, geoscientists with disabilities make up a very small proportion of doctorate recipients and employed geoscientists. A little more than 2 percent of geoscience doctorate recipients in 2001 had disabilities. Persons with disabilities constituted 7 percent of all employed geoscientists in 1999 and 5 percent of employed geoscientists with doctoral degrees in 2001.