SWE Research Update: Women in Engineering By the Numbers

We've compiled some of the latest statistics about women in engineering. You can find more of this data on the Society of Women Engineers' research site.
New SWE Research Website Focuses on State of Women in Engineering

SWE Research Update: Women in Engineering By the NumbersWe've compiled some of the latest statistics about women in engineering. You can find more of this data on the Society of Women Engineers' research site: research.swe.org. You can also download our SWE Research Flyer with this information.

Freshmen Intentions to Major in Engineering, Math, Statistics, or Computer Science:1

  • 2006: 18.4% (men); 3.5% (women)
  • 2014: 26.9% (men); 7.9% (women)

Women Leaving Engineering/STEM

  • Over 32% of women switch out of STEM degree programs in college.2
  • Only 30% of women who earn bachelor’s degrees in engineering are still working in engineering 20 years later.3
  • 30% of women who have left the engineering profession cite organizational climate as the reason.4

Degrees Awarded
38% increase in bachelor’s degrees awarded in engineering and computer science from 2011 (136,163) to 2016 (188,414).5

  • 54% increase in bachelor’s degrees awarded in engineering and computer science to women from 2011 (23,606) to 2016 (36,453).6
  • 3% of bachelor’s degrees awarded to women in engineering and computer science.7
  • 6% of bachelor’s degrees in engineering awarded to women of color.8

In the Workforce
Only 13% of engineers are women.9
Only 26% of computer scientists are women.10

  • Female engineers earn 10% less than male engineers.11
  • 61% of women engineers report that they have to prove themselves repeatedly to get the same level of respect and recognition as their colleagues.12

SWE Research Update: Women in Engineering By the NumbersTop 10 Engineering Degrees for Women 2016-1713

  1. Mechanical
  2. Chemical
  3. Civil
  4. Biomedical
  5. Computer Science
  6. Industrial/Manufacturing/Systems
  7. Electrical
  8. Computer Engineering
  9. Environmental
  10. Metallurgical & Materials

1National Science Board.Science and Engineering Indicators 2016, Appendix Table 2-16.

2Chen, X. (2013). STEM attrition: College students’ paths into and out of STEM fields.

3Corbett, C., & Hill, C. (2015). Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women's Success in Engineering and Computing. Washington, DC: American Association of University Women.

4Fouad, N. A., Singh, R., Fitzpatrick, M. E., & Liu, J. P. (2012). Stemming the tide: Why women leave engineering.University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

5U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 2017, Tables 325.35 and 325.45.

6U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 2017, Tables 325.35 and 325.45.

7Yoder B. L. (2018). Engineering by the numbers. American Society for Engineering Education.

8https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2017/nsf17310/digest/fod-wmreg/

9https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.htm.

10https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.htm.

112016 American community survey (5-yr estimates): Tables B24122 and B24123.

12Williams, J. C., Li, S., Rincon, R., and Finn, P. (2016). Climate control: Gender and racial bias in engineering?

13Source: Yoder, B. L. (2018). Engineering by the numbers. American Society for Engineering Education.

  • M.S. Ashwin says:

    I found this site very informative. The Article
    "Societal Boundaries for Women Leaders" was very impressive.Keep up the good work. Thank you.

  • Troy Johnson, PE says:

    If growth in acceptance and inclusion of women in the engineering fields is the goal, why join a society that separates them? The NSPE and numerous industry / discipline-specific societies already exist, join those and become part of the community. Having been a member and volunteer leader of several societies for decades, I can say that resources are scarce and volunteers and funds are stretched thin. We welcome all and would appreciate new members who are willing to help share the load.