Employment of Women in Engineering
Over time, the U.S. has seen an increase in the number of women entering STEM occupations. While life science occupations, such as biology, have closed the gap between the percentage of men and women working in these fields, the percentage of women in engineering has slowly increased in the last three decades.
The most recent Science and Engineering Indicators report (2022) indicated that women represented about 34% of all STEM workers in 2019. Moreover, women comprised about 44% of STEM workers with at least a bachelor’s degree, a slight rise from 42% in 2010. However, women still represented about 26% of STEM workers without a bachelor’s degree in 2019; they also represented the same proportion of STEM workers without a bachelor’s degree in 2010.
Source: National Science Board, National Science Foundation. 2022. Science and Engineering Indicators 2022: The State of U.S. Science and Engineering.
In 2019, 31% of women with a STEM Bachelor’s degree entered STEM occupations. Of those, 8.9% worked in engineering occupations, whereas 20.9% of men with similar educational attainment worked in engineering occupations (Digest of Education Statistics, 2019).
Source: Digest of Education Statistics, 2019, Table 505.30
Employment by Discipline
The percentage of female engineers and computer professionals varies by specialization. Only 9% of mechanical engineers are female compared to 35% of environmental engineers. In the computer industry, only 18% of software developers and 32% of computer and information research scientists are women.
Source: U.S Census Bureau. Detailed occupation for the civilian employed population 16 years and over. Tables B24115 and B24116. https://data.census.gov/
Employment of Women of Color
Among 25- to 34-year-olds with a STEM bachelor’s degree, the proportion of women employed in engineering and computing occupations is lower than that of men of the same racial/ethnic background. Moreover, the proportion of Black and Hispanic women is more than two times lower than that of White men.
Source: Digest of Education Statistics, 2020, Table 505.30
SWE Efforts to Increase Representation of Women of Color in the Engineering and Computer Science Workforce
- SWE Public Policy
- SWE Legislative Action Center and Congressional Outreach
- SWE Research on Women of Color in Early Career
- The Women of Color in Engineering Collaborative: A collaborative effort to advance women of color in the engineering workforce.
- Digest of Education Statistics, 2019.
- National Science Board, National Science Foundation. 2022. Science and Engineering Indicators 2022: The State of U.S. Science and Engineering. NSB-2022-1. Alexandria, VA. Available at https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsb20221
- Corbett, C., & Hill, C. (2015). Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing. Washington, DC: American Association of University Women.
- National Science Board. 2021. The STEM Labor Force of Today: Scientists, Engineers, and Skilled Technical Workers.
- The Center for WorkLife Law. (2022). Pinning Down the Jellyfish: The Workplace Experiences of Women of Color in Tech.