Female tenure/tenure-track faculty are not as well-represented at the highest levels of tenure when compared to their male counterparts. As of 2021, only 35% of female tenure/tenure-track faculty were classified as Full Professors, compared with 51% of male tenure/tenure-track faculty.
The most recent NCSES Survey of Doctorate Recipients (2023) shows that in 2021 the median salary for women faculty in computer and information sciences was lower than that of their male peers at each faculty level. However, at all faculty levels in engineering, women’s median salary was equal to or more than their male counterparts. In 2021, female full professors earned 14 thousand dollars more than male faculty with the same rank.
Faculty by Discipline
On average, only 19.2% of tenure/tenure-track faculty in U.S. engineering colleges are women. Life science-related engineering disciplines have the largest percentages of female tenure/tenure-track faculty, with about 1 in 4 tenure/tenure-track faculty being female. Aerospace engineering has the lowest inclusion of female faculty, where less than 13% of tenure/tenure-track faculty are female.
Faculty by Academic Position
Among doctoral scientists and engineers employed in universities and four-year colleges, women are underrepresented at various academic positions and levels. In 2019, women represented about 36% of deans, department heads, and chairs at these institutions. Similarly, they represented about 36% and 37% of the research faculty and teaching faculty, respectively. Women had a slightly higher representation in the academic positions of adjunct faculty (42.7 %) and postdoctoral researchers (42.6%).
Engineering Faculty Women of Color
According to the 2021 Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering report, women in underrepresented racial and ethnic groups comprise less than 2% of female faculty in tenure or tenure-track positions. White women represent the most common race among female faculty, followed by Asian women.
SWE Efforts to Increase Female Representation among Engineering and Computer Science Faculty
- NSF ASSIST: Strengthening Engineering Faculty through Diversity Serving Professional Organization Engagement
- American Society for Engineering Education. (2022). Profiles of Engineering and Engineering Technology.
- National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. 2019 and 2021. Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2019. Special Report NSF 19-304 and 21-321. Alexandria, VA. Available at https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd.
- National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Survey of Doctorate Recipients, 2021.
- American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) SEA Change, recognizing institutional transformation for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.