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Math Majors Gender Distribution

“Do girls who participate in math competitions through high school typically major in STEM fields when in college?” I get asked this question many times. I have done a few surveys on this topic and will share the results in the next few weeks.

I wanted to share the analysis done by the National Student Clearinghouse® Research Center™. The Research Center works across many higher education institutions and educational organizations to inform practitioners and policymakers about student educational pathways as per their website.

The following charts shared in the report basically outline that the number of girls who pursue Bachelor’s degrees in mathematics have declined from 2004 through 2014. The Master’s and Doctorate numbers have remained constant and continue to be discouraging.

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Women are approximately 15% of tenure faculty positions (makes sense based on the Doctoral data above) in mathematical sciences research universities in the United States. Dr. Sen and Dr. Topaz found out that 8.9% of the 13067 editorships in mathematical sciences (435 journals) were held by women. The research concluded that the degree of underrepresentation of women on mathematical sciences journal editorial boards is far more severe than in the mathematics field overall.

I personally believe that all of these data points are related and attrition of girls continue to be higher at the higher levels in the field. We as a society and community need to continue to encourage girls at each and every stage (master’s; doctorate, faculty, tenure track and so on…) to break this trend.

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