Historical comparison of gender inequality in scientific careers across countries and disciplines

Junming Huang, Alexander J. Gates, Roberta Sinatra, and Albert-László Barabási

Abstract

There is a persistent gender gap in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math: Over the last 60 years, across all disciplines, only 27 percent of research publications were authored by women. But the figure obscures important trends.

While in 1955 women represented only 12 percent of all active authors…

…that fraction steadily increased over the last century, reaching 35 percent by 2005.

Yet, these aggregate numbers hide considerable disciplinary differences: The fraction of women is as low as 15 percent in math, physics, and computer science, and reaches 33 percent in psychology. A team of Northeastern researchers sought to learn why.

There is a gender gap in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM): Over the last 60 years, across all disciplines, only 27 percent of research publications were authored by women, according to a new study by Northeastern researchers.

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