Women are raging the world with innovation in sectors beyond count. Qualitative Higher education is all about empowering gender parity. Women have been impacting the global employment scene at an exhilarating rate. Gender disparity is a serious issue when it concerns STEM education and recruitment. Promoting women in STEM or any realm of occupation is a step toward strengthening equality in opportunities around the globe.
The disparity in education is not just a today’s thing. It has persisted over the centuries. This leads to a major slump in job market access as well. This is where the women folk slack in landing their preferred jobs in the STEM arena. Science and technology have been the main forte for men from the inception of the subject. It has been considered a male-dominant area of work and learning from the very beginning. This is where it all started!
Source: World Economic Forum Report 2023
Believing the recent report showcasing the above quoted numbers, it shows a clear drop to the top that is worse in STEM. Women in engineering education brings in enough perspective and creativity to the field of work. Gender gaps are vastly higher in some of the fast-paced and highly rewarding future job opportunities; inclusive of computer science, engineering, mathematics, and technology. Women are usually barred from easy access to higher education career opportunities for obvious societal reasons.
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Women in STEM occupations have been appropriately depicted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics graphical representation above. This showcases the real scenario faced by contemporary women.
Reasons for Underrepresentation of Women in STEM:
Although; the number of women in science and engineering is growing, men continue to outnumber women; especially at the upper levels of the professional ladder. Listed below are the reasons that pose a hurdle to women’s underrepresentation in STEM industry:
- Immediate environment shaping the girls’ interest and motivation in STEM
- Social Bias
- Subject Anxiety
- Negative stereotypes about girls’ abilities in mathematics and science
- Insufficient accommodation at workspaces for females
- Patriarchal educational and organizational setup
- Lack of enough role models
Data shows women aren’t inferior to men when it comes to STEM education. Just the mention of the above reasons is enough to gauge the path ahead and pave the way for a better and equitable workforce in the future.
Top Motivators for Women in Technology:
- Have an early influence
For young women, high school teachers have the most influence on women whether they choose an IT or tech career. A vast majority of women say that it was a parent or a teacher who encouraged them to study computer science.
- Being inquisitive about computers and their working mechanism
A passionate individual is sure to make the world go round. This is the major catalyst for women choosing a computer or a STEM career ahead.
- Becoming a meaningful contribution to the society
A whopping percentage of women think that the ability to make a meaningful contribution to society is a primary factor in their career development.
- Encouragement through networking in the industry
Facing microaggressions at work is a big turn-off for a progressive female in STEM roles. Being treated differently than male colleagues, facing communication that dismisses and devalues their thoughts or infers they are less capable than men; sexual harassment; experiencing disrespect, steamrolling, sexist jokes, or otherwise; are all reasons that put the burner off the women’s platter for a thriving STEM career.
- Educating Men-on-board
Getting the stronger side on your side is the way to go. Women need men who are on a higher pedestal to support and cooperate with women in STEM. It is the responsibility of the men folk to create and enable an environment that fosters women's participation in STEM at home and at work. It goes without saying that becoming role models for them could be a humble beginning.
Ways to Foster Women's Involvement in STEM:
Organizations across the globe have taken to shrinking the gender parity gap and allowing enough space for women folk to flourish exhaustively in their STEM careers. As is well-informed women make up only 27% of the workforce in STEM and men vastly overrun the women majoring in most of the STEM fields of education and career (as per the US Census Bureau). Female researchers tend to have shorter less-well-paid careers as compared to their male counterparts.
A recent survey showcases that in India, nearly 435 of STEM graduates are women, as opposed to other developed nations such as the US, Canada, and the UK; where there are fewer women- 34%, 31%, and 38% respectively- studying STEM at the tertiary level.
- Encourage participation in clubs and activities
- Amplify women's mentorship
- Embrace agile principles
- Involve the male members
- Encourage upskilling
When it calls for churning out quality professionals in the EdTech industry, credible tech education programs from the global leaders in the EdTech industry. Upskilling is the way ahead when it is time to make big career moves in STEM with women concerned with roleplay. More than that, men and society have a larger role to play in enabling and pushing women folk to participate in STEM activities, involve themselves in STEM curriculum, and enroll in high-rising STEM career opportunities throughout their life span.