Women’s Studies: Breaking Tradition

Over the last decade or so, women have flocked to nontraditional areas of study, earning increasing numbers of bachelor’s degrees in law enforcement, security, firefighting, and other protective services. The number of women earning health- and fitness-related degrees has jumped as well. The table below lists the areas of study that showed the largest gains in the number of women graduates between the 1999–2000 and the 2009–2010 academic years.


Area of study

THEN# Women grads


NOW# Women grads


% Gain
Homeland security, law enforcement, firefighting, and related protective services 10,808 21,402 98
Parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies 9,021 15,697 74
Health professions and related programs 67,521 110,328 63
Visual and performing arts 34,788 56,034 61
Communication and communications technologies 34,906 54,008 55
Business, management, marketing, and personal and culinary services 127,549 174,992 37
Biological and biomedical sciences 37,051 50,535
Multi/interdisciplinary studies 18,717 25,519 36
Family and consumer sciences/
human sciences 14,288 19,132 34
Foreign languages, literature, and linguistics 11,270 14,906 32

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics


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