Women’s participation in STEM

Women’s participation in STEM


  • India-Israel Women’s Conference in the field of ‘Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics’ (STEM) was organized.
  • The need for increasing women’s participation in STEM and introducing gender-neutral pay was highlighted during the conference.


  • The concept of ‘STEM’ (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) was introduced by the ‘US National Science Foundation’ (NSF) in the year 2001.
  • The organization first used ‘STEM’ to refer to a career in a curriculum integrating knowledge and skills.
  • It is a curriculum based on the idea of ​​educating students in 4 distinct disciplines- Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics from an interdisciplinary and practical approach.
  • India is one of the countries with the largest number of scientists and engineers, the growth of ‘STEM’ has accelerated significantly in the last few years.
  • According to Article 51A of the Constitution of India, it is the duty of every citizen of India to develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of reform.


  • A strong STEM education builds critical thinkers, problem solvers and the next generation of innovators.
  • According to the National Science Foundation, 80% of the jobs created in the next decade will require some form of math and science skills.

Women’s participation in STEM:

  • About 43% of women in India are STEM graduates, the highest in the world. But women account for only 14% of jobs in the STEM sector in India.
  • In the Indian STEM sector, the primary concern has never been in terms of the number of female graduates, but with the proportion of people who eventually land jobs in the STEM sector.
  • As science and technology have made significant contributions to the economic sector, it can play an important role in increasing women’s participation in ‘STEM’ society by ensuring gender-neutral payments.
  • More participation of women in the technical field will make the position of women strong and influential, which will increase their socio-economic status in the society.

Reason for low participation:

  • Stereotypes: The lack of women in the ‘STEM’ field is not only a result of skill inadequacies, but also a result of specified stereotypical gender roles.
  • Patriarchy: Emphasis is placed on patriarchal approach in hiring or awarding of fellowships and grants etc.
  • Society: Lack of role models, pressure to conform to social norms and household chores.
  • Stress: Stress related to marriage, childbirth etc.
  • Domestic Responsibilities: Responsibilities related to running the household and caring for the elderly.
  • Physical protection: Physical protection during work.
  • Harassment: Sexual and other forms of harassment at workplace etc.

Initiatives to promote women’s participation:

Vigyan Jyoti Scheme:

  • Vigyan Jyoti scheme has been launched by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • The objective of this scheme is to increase the percentage of women in the STEM education sector.
  • Under this scheme, science camps will be organized for girl students in Indian Institutes of Technology and National Laboratories, as well as successful women working in top institutions like Science and Technology, Corporate, Universities and DRDO will be contacted through the camp.

GATI Scheme:

  • Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI) will create a comprehensive charter and framework for assessing gender equality in STEM.

KIRAN Scheme

  • KIRAN Scheme was launched by the Department of Science and Technology under the Union Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • The full form of KIRAN is ‘Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing’.
  • The KIRAN scheme is addressing various issues/challenges related to gender equality in the science and technology sector.

Way forward:

  • The problem needs to be addressed at two levels – at the social level which requires long-term effort and at the policy and institutional level, which can be initiated with immediate effect.
  • There is an urgent need for STEM to invest in supporting infrastructure to bridge the persistent gender imbalance in large companies, incentivizing institutions to promote gender equality, transparency in decision making, etc.
  • However as a first step, schools need to break ‘gender perceptions of intelligence’ and encourage girls to not only take up science at secondary and higher secondary level but also to pursue a career in STEM.
  • Not only will this help women fulfill their dreams, but science will also benefit from other perspectives.
  • While the situation is certainly improving and the number of women in STEM is increasing, it is a sign that we have a long way to go.

Download yojna ias daily current affairs 29 November 2021

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