Of nearly 23,000 US graduate students in chemistry in 2014, roughly 8200 were full-time female students, latest figures reveals

Women have earned about half of the science and engineering (S&E) bachelor’s degrees in the US since the late 1990s, but their representation varies widely by field – ranging from 70% in psychology to 18% in computer science, according to new data from the US National Science Foundation (NSF). Although white men constitute about one-third of the overall US population, they make up half of the S&E workforce, the agency says.

There were almost 23,000 chemistry graduates in 2014 – the most recent year for which such data is available. Approximately 8200 of them were full-time female students, compared with nearly 12,300 full-time male students. Only 1000 of the roughly 23,000 chemistry graduate students were Hispanic or Latino, and just 730 were African–American. More than 10,000 of these chemistry students were Caucasian, and among the whole chemistry S&E graduate student population in the US, more than 8500 were temporary visa holders.

The NSF has found that scientists and engineers had a lower unemployment rate in 2015 compared to the general US population, at 3.3% versus 5.8%. However, the rate varied among groups. For example, unemployment among this population was 2.8% for white women but 6% for underrepresented minority women.

The NSF data also reveals that the proportion of chemistry doctorates awarded to women in the US has increased from 33% in 2004 to 39.4% in 2014. By comparison, the figure rose from 38.8% to 41.6% in all S&E fields over the same period.