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A PROJECT OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES

     
       
Indicator II-5 Gender Distribution of Undergraduate Degrees in the Humanities
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Updated (3/9/2010) with data from 2007.

Since 1966, the humanities have had one of the most balanced gender distributions of bachelor’s degrees among academic fields (Figure II-5). Just over half of all bachelor’s degrees in the humanities were awarded to women in 1966, with the percentage rising to approximately 61% by 2007. At the beginning of the 21st century, the proportion of bachelor’s degrees awarded to women was substantially greater in only two fields: health/medical sciences and social services/education. The percentages of bachelor’s degrees awarded to women by the arts, behavioral/social sciences, and life sciences fields were similar to the percentage for the humanities, while women’s shares of physical sciences and engineering bachelor’s degrees were considerably smaller. The percentage of humanities bachelor’s degrees awarded to women has been traditionally higher than that for all fields combined, though the gap has been narrowing.

Substantial variation exists among humanities disciplines with respect to the gender distribution of bachelor’s degrees. While women are the majority of recipients in English, they are still in the minority in other fields such as history. Part II, Section C, Undergraduate and Graduate Degree Information for Specific Humanities Disciplines, presents data on the gender composition of the degree-earning population for individual disciplines (as well as the total number of degrees granted and their racial/ethnic distribution).

Figure II-5, Full Size
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