Gender distribution in chemistry studies in Finland
Studies show that STEM field is struggling with shortage of women (NGCP, 2022). On the other hand, educational field has too little male teachers. Over 70 % of all European teachers are women (Katsarova, 2019). But what is the current situation in the field of chemistry? This statistical study analyses this by looking what is the gender distribution in Finland.
In Finland the government produces high level up-to-date statistical data via open data service site called Vipunen - Education Statistics Finland. It a reporting portal administered jointly by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education. Read more: https://vipunen.fi/en-gb.
This dataset is gathered from Vipunen. It includes chemistry university students gender distribution in terms of overall students, new students and completed degrees in bachelor, master's and doctoral levels from 2011 to 2022. Download the full dataset from Zenodo: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7655134.
There are more female chemistry students in Finland both in the bachelor and master's levels. However, there are more men doing PhD studies than women. The overall trend is alarming especially in the bachelor level. On the other hand, the total number of master's students seem to be steady even there is is some yearly variance and great gender distribution. Males are dominating the number of students in doctoral studies and the overall number of PhD candidates has been starting to grow in last few years.
In the bachelor level the decreasing number of students is also a result from a law change made in 2016 that ensures a certain number of starting places for students who apply to study at a university for the first time. But this doesn't explain all aspects for the decline.
The trend is almost similar when looked the first year students. However, the new two level system (bachelor/master's programmes) may affect to this. This two level degree programme system has been taken into use in the fall 2017 at the latest. It is noteworthy that in the last few years the number of female students is almost double compared to males. Note also that PhD studies may seem grow interest. It would be interesting to check that is the portion of foreign students.
Despite the decrease of bachelor students the number of completed master's degrees seems to continue almost steady. There is a slight decrease though. The number of graduating male PhDs is greater but there is few exception years such as 2015 and 2019.
Overall, in Finland chemistry is a slightly female dominated study field in the university level except the PhD studies. Note that the distribution ratio is male dominated in the technical universities in e.g. chemical engineering studies. This data doesn't include technical universities. One might also be interested in comparing this data to university level statistics via e.g. this site (Faculty of Science UH gender distribution).
Katsarova, I. (2019). Teaching careers in the EU: Why boys do not want to be teachers | Think Tank | European Parliament (PE 642.220; Briefing, p. 12). European Parliamentary Research Service. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document/EPRS_BRI(2019)642220
National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP). (2022). State of Girls and Women in STEM. Retrieved 20.2.2023: https://ngcproject.org/resources/state-girls-and-women-stem
Download histograms in high resolution: https://johannespernaa.kuvat.fi.
20.02.2023: Update to "Students overall" section.
07.03.2023: A link to UH statistics added to conclusions.
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