This is the first installment in a two-part series that will look at gender disparity in majors at the College. The first part will look quantitatively at the gender gap in different majors and compare the gender ratio of different majors to the gender ratio of faculty in these departments and the gender disparity at peer institutions while the second part will address the different measures that the College and student groups are taking to address this disparity.
Though the gender ratio at the College is roughly equal (51 percent female and 49 percent male), there is still a large gender disparity in many majors. Between 2011-2015, female students composed 64 percent of Division I majors, 49 percent of Division II majors and only 36 percent of Division III majors. More specifically, over 70 percent of people who graduated with degrees in computer science, physics, philosophy, mathematics or economics were male. During that same time frame, over 75 percent of majors in women’s, gender and sexuality studies (WGSS), art history, anthropology and Spanish were female.
Of the five majors where at least 60 percent of the students are male, three of them also have faculties with at least 60 percent males (computer science, physics and economics). Mathematics and philosophy, despite graduating a disproportionate number of males, has roughly the same percentage of males as females in their faculty departments. Similarly, of the five majors that graduate the highest percentage of females, three of them also have faculties that are at least 70 per- cent female (WGSS, Spanish and comparative literature). The art history and anthropology faculties have roughly the same percentage of female and male faculty.
These numbers are similar to numbers at peer institutions. Between 2013-2015, the College had a slightly higher percentage of females in its five most male dominated majors than Amherst did in those same majors and roughly the same percentage as Wesleyan did.