According to a new report from the Linguistic Society of America, linguistics as a discipline may be less female-dominated than before.

The 2016 Annual Report on the State of Linguistics in Higher Education provides data and information on careers in linguistics, trends in linguistic teaching positions, gender and ethnicity breakdowns within linguistics, and topics of specialization in linguistic programs, among other areas. The Annual Report, the fourth to be released by the LSA, features data provided by linguistics departments and programs throughout North America, federal government surveys, the American Academy, the LSA's internal membership directory, and data on gender collected by LSA’s Committee on the Status of Women in Linguistics (COSWL) from 50 select institutions.

Highlights from the report include:

  • A career in higher education continues to be the most popular professional outcome for PhD holders in linguistics. There are still a significant number of linguists pursuing careers in industry, government, and K-14 education after obtaining their doctorates.

  • For departments that reported information, female faculty continue to outnumber males in full-time positions. While women are almost on parity with men for tenure-track jobs, they still fall below men in the number of full professor positions.

  • The field of linguistics has been growing annually for the past decade, especially for undergraduates, although in recent years, the number of awarded Bachelors has increased at a slower rate.

  • Women represent a majority of undergraduate and graduate students in linguistics. While women’s representation in linguistics has been steadily increasing over the past 50 years, for the first time, the number of female PhD awardees dropped while males awardees increased.

  • More linguistics degrees, including Bachelors, Masters, and PhDs, are awarded to White or Caucasian recipients than to any other ethnicity.

  • The top five specializations for graduate students in linguistics are: Syntax, Phonology, Semantics, Phonetics and Language Acquisition. Compared to 2015 data, Computational Linguistics saw a surge in the number of programs that reported data.

The 2016 Annual Report was compiled by LSA intern, May F. Chung, and overseen by LSA Executive Director Alyson Reed. The 2016 Annual Report is also available on the LSA website.

For the 2016 Report, there was an increase in the number of departments reporting on faculty and gender over the previous year, but a decrease in the total number of institutions providing any data. To improve the quality of our data for future Annual Reports, the LSA encourages all LSA members to update their member profile (available upon login) and for all linguistics programs to do the same in the LSA Directory of Linguistics Departments and Programs. Thanks to all members who help us continue to study and report on ongoing trends within linguistics.