• Recently, India-Israel Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) conference was held.
  • The need for introducing flexible work times and gender-neutral pays to enhance women participation in STEM was highlighted.

Important points:

  • The STEM acronym was introduced in 2001 by scientific administrators at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF).
  • The organization previously used the acronym SMET when referring to the career fields in those disciplines or a curriculum that integrated knowledge and skills from those fields.
  • It is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in 4 specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.
  • India is one of the countries that produce the highest number of scientists and engineers, the growth of STEM has picked up significantly over the last few years.
  • Under Article 51A of the Constitution of India, it is a duty of every citizen of India to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.
  • A robust STEM education creates critical thinkers, problem-solvers, and next-generation innovators.
  • According to the National Science Foundation, it is predicted that 80% of the jobs created in the next decade will require some form of math and science skills.
  • About 43% of STEM graduates in India are women, which is the highest in the world, but their share in STEM jobs in India is a mere 14%.
  • In Indian STEM, the primary concern has never been with the number of women graduates, but with the proportion of those who ultimately land STEM jobs.
  • S&T has translated into the economic sphere and institutions are structured so, Science & Technology (S&T) could become a changemaker in society by introducing flexible work times, and gender-neutral pays to enhance women participation in STEM.
  • Greater women’s participation in the tech sector will make women more strong and influential, giving a boost to their socio-economic situation in the society.

Way Forward

  • The problem needs to be addressed at two levels – at societal level which requires long term effort and the policy and institutional level, which can be started with immediate effect.
  • There is an immediate need to invest in supporting infrastructure, incentivising institutions to promote gender equity, transparency in decision making etc. to bridge the persisting gender imbalance in STEM majors.


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