White House report on “Women in America”

The White House Council on Women and Girls recently released an 85 page report on “Women in America.” According to the administration, “it is the first comprehensive look at the status of women in America since the Kennedy administration released a similar report in 1963.” There is a lot of interesting data in here. Here are two graphs out of the report:

1. Comparing bachelor’s degrees granted to men and women in 1998 and 2008, by field:

Outside of engineering and computer sciences and mathematics and physical sciences, women are getting more bachelors’ (and master’s) degrees.

2. Unemployment rates by gender, going back to the late 1940s:


A shift seems to take place in the late 1970s and early 1980s where it is men who become more affected by recessions than women. This would line up with the loss of manufacturing jobs and the move to a post-Fordist, information-based economy.


Looking at the educationally rich Washington D.C. metro area

Based on recently released figures from the 2009 American Community Survey, the Washington Post describes the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, the most educated region in the country:

The data, drawn from questionnaires, underscore the academic primacy of the Washington area: 47 percent of adults – or nearly 2 million – hold bachelor’s degrees, the highest rate among the nation’s large urban areas. Six of the 10 best-educated U.S. counties are within commuting distance of the District.

Half of all degrees in the region are in natural and social sciences, well above the national average, under a broad Census Bureau definition of “science” that includes everything from nuclear physics to sociology. That’s a starting point for looking at variations within the region: So-called hard sciences reign beyond the Beltway, soft ones within.

There are some other interesting facts in here as well, such as the finding that the proportion of people of business degrees in the region is lower than the national average.

What I would be interested to know is how these statistics change the day-to-day lived experience of an average resident of the region. Are there more civic events with more involvement from nearby residents? Is there a large perceived gap between the lives of those who are well educated and those with less education? Do people strike up deeper conversations at any gathering? Does this concentration of people lead to more interdisciplinary work and research?