India has more women STEM grads than US, UK or France: Report

India has more women STEM grads than US, UK or France: Report

A World Bank report published some months ago reveals that among the world's global lot of women STEM students, at least 43% of them are in India.

Megha ChowdhuryUpdated: Thursday, May 18, 2023, 10:11 AM IST
article-image
Representative Image | Unsplash

Mumbai: The number of women studying Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses is steadily going up across Indian institutions. A World Bank report published some months ago reveals that among the world's global lot of women STEM students, at least 43% of them are in India.

The figure is impressive given that according to the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) Report of 2021, the percentage of women STEM graduates in the United States is 34 percent, it is 31 percent in Canada, and 38 percent in the UK.

But while the enrolment figure is high, the completion one does not match. Various reports and government data reveal that sometimes even half of those who take STEM do not complete the course in totality.

Examining the stumbling blocks

Devasmita Chakrabarty, an Associate professor at IIM Ahmedabad says the current data shows that the future of work is technological; around 80% of the jobs in the next decade will require STEM skills. “While around 12 million people are added to the country’s working population every year, we are already facing a shortage of STEM workers, the need to provide girls full and equal access and participation in STEM is crucial for India’s economy and science itself,” she explains.

Damayanti Bhattacharya, the CEO of Maker Bhavan Foundation (MBF), which pioneers in working with a vision of modernizing STEM Higher Education in India says the increase in enrolment is undoubtedly a healthy sign, but Indian women in STEM still have a long way to go.

The fact is that less than 50% of the women graduating every year are represented in the STEM workforce. The reasons are manifold. There is an obvious skill issue as well as the disciplinary areas in which maximum women are enrolled.” Bhattacharya added.

As a woman of STEM, Gayathri Parthasarathy, former VP of Asia Pacific Banking Leader, IBM Services, has seen the problems as well as the solutions up close. She understands the pressures women with young families face and has helmed several initiatives to make corporate India more supportive.

“Many young women drop off at some point saying that they cannot do it because they can only manage till a certain level. That’s where stagnation sets in, and it’s up to the corporations to provide that support and flexibility that women need at this point,” Parthasarthy added.

Closing the Gap

Rakhi Chaturvedi, an IIT Guwahati professor who is a prominent name in the field, says that a stable road for women – female professors, students – is yet to be created, but the work for it has begun. “With more women being recognised in the field of STEM, more female students are now inspired to take on these fields, which were earlier only associated with men. In doing so, a path for Women and girls in STEM is created for the coming generations.”

“The situation isn’t so bleak now,” said Chaturvedi, adding, “In the past few years, STEM has moved beyond being just a trendy hashtag, shaping into a movement, encouraging more women to dip their feet in the field of science and technology.”

Listing the reasons behind this, Bhattacharya highlighted the many government schemes that have boosted women’s involvement in technical education. “To promote female students in higher education and research, the University Grants Commission (UGC) provides a special scholarship scheme for girl students across the country – Post-Graduate Indira Gandhi Scholarship for the single girl child.”

Sneha Pareek, the Assam JEE Topper 2022 claims that even before professional career challenges occur, young girls in India face many real-life barriers that make STEM inaccessible to them right from school. “Societal systems and biological asymmetry, family upbringings have cultivated a mindset in children, especially among girls who feel that they are not up to it.”

Assam JEE Topper 2022 Sneha Pareek believes that women bring their unique perspectives to research and scientific conversation – and ultimately make science richer, broader, and more accurate when gender is considered.

RECENT STORIES

OSSC Combined Higher Secondary Level Prelim Exam Admit Card Released; Check Now At ssc.gov.in

OSSC Combined Higher Secondary Level Prelim Exam Admit Card Released; Check Now At ssc.gov.in

Mumbai University Postpones Exams In Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg Due To Heavy Rain; New Dates Awaited!

Mumbai University Postpones Exams In Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg Due To Heavy Rain; New Dates Awaited!

Study Abroad: Top 10 Universities In Japan As Per Latest QS Rankings

Study Abroad: Top 10 Universities In Japan As Per Latest QS Rankings

Bihar Police Constable Exam City Information Slip Released; Admit Cards Awaited!

Bihar Police Constable Exam City Information Slip Released; Admit Cards Awaited!

CTET 2024: Central Teacher Eligibility Test Answer Key, Results Awaited!

CTET 2024: Central Teacher Eligibility Test Answer Key, Results Awaited!