Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Statistics show that women dominate statistics

Women are beginning to shoot past men in one STEM field: mathematics and statistics! Dispelling the myths about women and math, we are finally seeing equality in one STEM field as posted by Meta S. Brown (really - a meta-analysis by Meta - how can you not love this) entitled The STEM Profession that Women Dominate.
According to her statistical analysis of statistical professions:
  • The number of women among mathematicians and statisticians equals the number of men. (The Population Reference Bureau, using data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, reported on this in Mathematicians and Statisticians in the United States, 2007. In 2001, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that women statisticians outnumbered men, however I haven’t found more recent numbers at that level of detail.)
  • Almost half of degrees in math and statistics are earned by women. Women have earned more than 40% of math and statistics bachelor’s degrees throughout the past 4 decades. (The U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics reports this in their Digest of Education Statistics. Economist Mark Perry has posted a nice graph of this data)
  • Actuaries, the most heavily controlled and perhaps best compensated of the analytics professions, are 30% female. (Actuaries in the United States, 2007.)
  • More than one-third of the members of the American Statistical Association are women, and women are well-represented on the board, which includes two recent past presidents – both women. (I phoned the American Statistical Association and asked about women members. Statements about the board are based on board membership retrieved from the ASA website on April 4, 2012.)
  • Women statisticians are influential in many countries - 41 of the world’s 190 statistical offices are headed by women. (The World's Women 2010: Trends and Statistics, United Nations, p. 122)
Great to see such progress which will of course create even greater progress as there are many more role models for women.  If only we could get the university systems to recognize this since fewer than 20% of tenured math professors are women!