Science - November 19, 2015

Growing percentage female PhD graduates

Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau,Koen Guiking

Last year almost as many women as men obtained their PhD at Dutch Universities. In Wageningen there are already more female than male PhD candidates.

In the academic year of 2013-2014 women made up 47 percent of the total number of PhD graduates, according to Statistics Netherlands. Last year it was one percent less. The women are steadily catching up: in 2003 only 36 percent of the graduates were female.

Male/female distribution of PhD graduates per domain
Male/female distribution of PhD graduates per domain
Number of PhD graduates throughout the years
Number of PhD graduates throughout the years

At Wageningen University the women have overtaken the men, the annual reports of Wageningen UR show. In the calendar year of 2014, 287 people completed their PhD in Wageningen, of which 154 women (almost 54 percent). In 2013 only 43 percent of the PhD graduates were female (118 of the 273), but the year before it was almost 55 percent (125 of the 229). In 2011 it was 43 percent (85 of the 196) and in 2010, 51 percent (104 of the 205). That was the first year where more females than males successfully defended their PhD thesis in Wageningen.

In the domain of health and welfare female PhD candidates have been the majority for several years. This is also seen in Wageningen. In the nutrition research groups, who train a substantial part of the Wageningen PhD candidates, women are the vast majority. The domain engineering, manufacturing and construction remains a male dominated environment: in 2013 just over a quarter was female. Also this is seen in Wageningen. The agrotechnology PhD graduates in Wageningen where almost all male.

In 2013-2014 more than 4500 people graduated at Dutch universities, five percent more than the year before. The number of graduates has grown explosively in the past years. Ten years ago the number of graduates was just over 2600 people, in 1990 it was less than two thousand.