Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science & Engineering
2002 Biennial Report to Congress
The Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE) is charged
with advising the National Science Foundation (NSF) in its efforts to develop a competent
and diverse 21st century workforce that will ensure the continued leadership of America
in a global economy in which scientific and technological innovations play a major role.
While progress has been made in the inclusion of more members of traditionally
underrepresented groups (African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians/Alaskan
Natives) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), there are still
critical areas that must be addressed. The following concerns set the tone for the
Committee’s deliberations during 2001-2002:
• Increased participation of women in science and engineering (S&E) education and
employment. While the proportion of women earning bachelor’s degrees in S&E
doubled from 1966 to 2000, the proportion remains significantly lower than that
of women earning bachelor’s degrees in non-scientific areas. Women also remain
underrepresented in the total S&E workforce.
• The failure to cultivate the vast pool of untapped talent among women and ethnic
minorities. Minorities earned only one-tenth as many S&E doctoral degrees as their
white counterparts, a shortfall that remains a concern. Additionally, even though
women comprise half of the college-educated workforce, they continue to fill only
10% of the country’s engineering jobs.
• Increased participation of underrepresented minorities in graduate S&E education.
African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans are as likely as whites to major
in S&E at the bachelor’s degree level, but they remain less likely to graduate from
high school, enroll in college, and graduate with a bachelor’s degree. While the
number and proportion of doctorate degrees in S&E awarded to members of these
groups have increased, the overall proportion remains low.