The number of post-secondary educational degrees awarded to women has risen from just over half a million in 1969-1970 to more than 1.4 million in 2001-2002. Although the number of degrees earned by men has also increased, the growth among women has been much faster and therefore the proportion of degrees earned by women has also risen dramatically. In 1969-1970, men earned a majority of every type of degree, while in 2001-2002, women earned more than 50 percent of all associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, and earned almost half of all first professional and doctoral degrees. The most significant increase has been in the proportion of women earning a first professional degree, which jumped from 5.3 percent in 1969-1970 to 47.3 percent in 2001- 2002. The total number of women earning their first professional degree (38,191) was 20 times greater than in 1969-1970 (1,841).

Among women working as full-time instructional staff for degree-granting institutions, 41.5 percent had tenure during the 2001-2002 academic year, compared to 56.5 percent of men. This varied greatly by rank, with the highest rate of tenure among women with the rank of Professor (90.7 percent). This is the only rank where the rate of tenure was higher among men (92.3 percent) than women.

Graph: Degrees Awarded to Women by Type[d]

Graph: Full Time Instructional Staff with Tenure[d]