Design Engineering

NHS: Canadian women’s share of STEM degrees rising

By Design Engineering Staff   

General engineers STEM

Although still dominated by men, younger women are pursuing engineering and other science degrees in greater numbers.

According to data from Statistics Canada’s recently released National Household Survey, a rising percentage of younger women hold STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computer sciences) than their older counterparts.

The study finds that although women overall represented just under one-third (32.6%) of adults aged 25 to 64 with a university STEM degree, young women aged 25 to 34 represented 39.1% of university STEM degrees in that age group. That’s compared to 22.6% for women in the 55 to 64 age group. In non-STEM fields, younger women’s share of university degree holders was 65.7% compared with older women’s share of 53.6%.

Breaking the numbers down further, “science and technology” degrees were most favored by younger women, who held the majority (58.6%) of university degrees compared with the share of 34.9% held by older women.

However, the study shows the largest shift in “engineering and engineering technology.” The share of younger women holding this STEM degree was 23.1% in 2011 in contrast with a relatively small 8.5% share of women in the older age group. The fields of “mathematics and computer sciences” experienced the smallest change with younger women’s shares totaling 30.4%, compared to 29.3% for the older age groups.


While women are pursuing science related degrees (and presumably careers) in greater numbers, men still make up the majority of STEM degree holders, the study finds. In 2011, men represented 67.4% of adults aged 25 to 64 with STEM degrees at the university level. In comparison, among adults with a non-STEM university degree, 6 in 10 (60.6%) were women.


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