Every year, International Women’s Day (IWD) will be commemorated on March 8.
GS I: Indian Society
Dimensions of the Article:
- About International Women’s Day 2023
- Gender Gap in STEM
About International Women’s Day 2023
- International Women’s Day 2023 (IWD) will be commemorated on under the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”.
- The United Nations has highlighted the need for inclusive technology and digital education.
- It plans to have discussions on the role of all stakeholders in improving access to digital tools.
- With the IWD’s origins linked to women workers’ movements, it is important to note that women’s lack of access to technology and digital tools makes them less likely to be a part of the wider domains of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – collectively termed the STEM fields.
Gender Gap in STEM
The gender gap in STEM refers to the disparity in representation between men and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. Here are some facts about the gender gap in STEM:
- Low Participation Rates: Globally, girls are less likely to pursue STEM studies compared to boys. Only 18% of girls in higher-level education are pursuing STEM studies, while 35% of boys are. This trend continues into STEM careers.
- Gender Divide within STEM Fields: Even within STEM fields, there is a gender divide. Boys are more likely to pursue engineering, manufacturing, and construction, while girls tend to gravitate towards natural sciences.
- Enrolment Disparities in Engineering Programmes: In India, there is a significant enrolment gap between male and female students in engineering programmes. In 2020-2021, only 29% of students enrolled in UG, PG, MPhil, and PhD engineering programmes were female.
- Women Outnumber Men in Science Courses: While women are underrepresented in engineering, they tend to outnumber men in science courses at all levels of education. In India, women make up 53% of enrolment in science courses.
- No Guarantee of Employment: Despite the gains made in women’s enrolment in science courses, there is no guarantee of increased employment opportunities. Several factors, including bias and discrimination, can hinder women’s ability to secure jobs in STEM fields.
Closing the gender gap in STEM requires concerted efforts to promote gender equality, encourage girls’ participation in STEM education, and address structural and cultural barriers that prevent women from entering and succeeding in STEM careers.
-Source: Indian Express