2004: 33.3 %
2003: 27.1 %
2002: 25.3 %
2001: 25.2 %
2000: 28.4 %
1999: 24.8 %
1998: 29.4 %
1997: 26.0 %
In comments, Mike Almeida pointed out that a spike for one year does not make a trend.
This doesn't seem to show that the percentage of women receiving PhD's is increasing or I guess I don't see it. For instance, since 1998, there has been just one year with a larger percentage (since 1997, about half). Wouldn't you read that as no trend or a trend in the other direction? Looking at it a different way, the average for the first four years listed is about equal to the average for the last four.
More recent figures are now available from the NRC’s Study of Earned Doctorates (SED). Sadly, they do show that the 2004 figure was somewhat anomalous.
The SED figures indicate that women earn just about 27% of the doctorates awarded in philosophy, and that this figure has remained relatively static for over 15 years, going back to at least 1991.
Given that pipelines for women tend to tighten with career advancement, we can't expect the representation of women as professors to increase without also increasing the number that get undergraduate and graduate degrees. Right now, only about 20% of philosophy professors are women, far less than in any other area in the humanities.
So, what is to be done? In yesterday's post I gave reasons why professional organizations (that is, the APA) should take the lead.
Update: For whatever reason, the statistics that come from the Dept. of Education's Digest of Education Statistics are a little lower than those compiled by the NRC. For instance, they say the proportion of women earning doctorates in 2005 was 24.1% and that the average rate going back to 1994 is 26%. No source shows consistent change in this rate.