Women in CS: Statistics

The following data was taken from a NSF and ACM-W funded report by Tracy Camp, Keith Miller and Vanessa Davies, which can be found here.

The Pipeline

Recent statistics show that the percentage of women in each successive portion of the educational pipeline is significantly smaller than the previous level. This indicates that women are not staying in the academic part of computer science as long as men are. The following graphs are compiled from data used in the Camp, Miller, and Davies study:

The graphs for students and faculty are separated because the numbers were collected for different years ('95-'96 and '97-'98, respectively). However, the implications remain the same. The pipeline starts with 27.5% of CS BAs and BSs going to women and drops slightly to 26.7% at the Masters level. The pipeline narrows considerably at the doctorate level with 14.5% of degrees going to women. The situation for women faculty is even more exaggerated with 16.4% of assistant professors, being female. Women make up 11.7% of associate professors and only 7.6% of full professors.

Shrinkage of the Pipeline Over Time

Not only does the percentage of women in CS academia shrink at each successive level, but it seems to have followed a general downward trend over time. The Camp, Miller, and Davies study reports that from 1983-1996, "the percentage of women obtaining bachelor degrees in CS went from a high of 37.1% to a low of 27.5%." This represents a decrease of 25.9%. Conversely, over the same period of time, the percentage of women being granted engineering degrees, increased by almost the same percentage (25.8%).

This data can be a little misleading, in that after 1996, the percentages start to rise somewhat. However Camp, Miller and Davies predict that those percentages will never reach the high point of the mid-'80s. They also predict that the percentage of women receiving bachelor's degrees will drop sharply between 2001 and 2002.

An good but older study written by Tracy Camp in 1997 can be found here.