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National Science Foundation: quantifying fundamental indicators for women and minority educatioN

Updated: Jun 18, 2022

By Yasmin Silva Nilsson

March 10, 2022


Respected scientific institutions exist, for our sake, all over the globe. The National Science Foundation in the United States, not at all restricted for federal operations, was created by the US Congress "to promote the progress of science; to advance national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense..." as one of the powers of the economy, of national security, and much more involving responsible leadership. The Foundation also sponsors about a quarter of every ongoing research in the US academia.

One of NSF’s main projects is the Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, a yearly series of reports indicating the participation of those social groups in each field. As of 2017 data, nearly 60% of all S&E degrees have been awarded to women since the late 1990s, but the proportion of women is lowest in engineering, computer sciences, and physics. Women earn just over one-third of the doctorates in economics and slightly more than one-fourth of the doctorates in mathematics and statistics.

Until the most recent report, which was released in April 2021, all information about degrees and occupation is pre-pandemic – only in 2023 will they release pandemic-collected information.

Key takeaways from the 2021 report

In 2018, more women were enrolled in college than men, besides having an expansion on Hispanic student enrollment - though a reduction in the amount of black students compared to a gross growth spotted during decades.

The extensive analysis performed by the NSF plays a very significant role on how the acting of public and private agencies should be designed according to data – what should startups be focusing on when giving out opportunities and planning innovative outputs? What should public policies look like to help ease discrepancies, and what can the private sector do to improve situations? What does it mean to have a much larger number of women applicants to undergraduate programs compared to men?


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