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Women Surpass Men in Number of PhDs Earned

For the first time, women earned the majority of PhDs awarded at American Universities in the 2008-2009 academic year. Though the number of women at every level of academia has been increasing for decades, Washington Post reported that doctoral-level study was the only remaining area of higher education that still had a male majority. According to an annual enrollment report from the Council of Graduate Schools, based in Washington, 28,962 of the doctoral degrees awarded last year went to women and 28,469 to men. Although women have long outnumbered men in earning master’s degrees, because of the average length required to attain a doctoral degree – typically seven years – PhDs were the last area to show the impact of any long-term changes in education enrollment trends. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that of the 57,600 doctorates the survey examined, women earned 67 percent of education doctorates and 70 percent of the doctorates in health sciences, a category that includes nursing. Men still received 78 percent of engineering doctorates and 73 percent of math and computer sciences doctorates, a fact that helps explain why women continue to report lower incomes than men.

Sources:

Washington Post 9/14/10; The Sydney Morning Herald 9/15/10