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.

Women in STEM Occupations
Sources: (1) Corbett, C., & Hill, C. (2015). Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing. American Association of University Women. 1111 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. (2) U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (2023). Employed persons by detailed occupation, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity:2022. https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.htm

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.

Proportion of STEM Workers Women

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).

Men and Women Employed in STEM

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.

Employed Engineers

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.

Women Employed in STEM by Ethnicity

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

Additional Resources