How Many US Women in the Workforce Have College Degrees?

The number of US women in the workforce who hold college degrees increased significantly during the last decades of the 20th century and into the 21st century. In 1970, 11.2 percent of US women in the workforce held bachelor's degrees or higher. By 2010, that figure had risen to 36.4 percent of all US women in the workforce. During the same period, the number of working women with some college education — up to and including an associate’s degree — increased from 10.9 percent to 30.3 percent.

More facts about US women and college education:

  • During the 1980s, the number of women enrolling in college began to exceed the number of men entering college. By 1996, there were more women earning bachelor’s degrees than men. According to the 2010 census, 10.6 million women held advanced degrees, compared with 10.5 million men.

  • One of the first American colleges to accept women as full-time students was Oberlin College in Ohio. Beginning with the 1833 term, women were admitted as full-time students. The college awarded its first degrees to women in 1841.

  • The first woman to earn a Bachelor of Divinity degree from a US college was Anna Oliver. Boston University School of Theology issued her degree in 1876.

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