So you all remember Dexter and DeeDee? Do you remember how Dexter had a lab and DeeDee was supposed to be an annoying sister? Even the character of Mandark was a genius and the only thing DeeDee seemed to be interested in was her dolls? Well times have changed and so has DeeDee. Today, DeeDee can have her own lab and she can create better technology than Dexter. Blasphemous? No, we don’t think so.
Men or Women, there is no bias today. There can’t be and there shouldn’t be. Period. The world has moved on to brighter times where a woman is not restricted to the four walls of her household. Even writing that down felt ancient! A woman today has a very powerful tool; Choice!
India has seen progress in terms of numbers of women in fields of engineering and computing. However there is still a huge gap in the ratio of men and women in this field. Science, and especially technology, has been considered ‘masculine’ for a long time and gender gap in science has been is observed in most societies. This disparity is validated by several government surveys conducted to quantify the representation of women in the fields of science and technology. As per data collected by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, only 15.6 percent of the total manpower were women employees in various R&D establishments (dst.gov.in). Even the representation of women in top-tier institution like CSIR, ICMR, ICAR, ISRO, DBT, and DST are well below global averages, with women representation in some cases reported as low as below 10 percent.
For a country vying to be included in the top nations of the world aided by rapid development in the fields of science and technology, India cannot afford to leave half of its population outside the development radius. While women can choose to do what they like, it can’t be sheer coincidence for so many women to not choose engineering and other mathematical fields. This is where STEM education comes into picture. We believe that STEM subjects can’t be taught in isolation. Even though in schools, girls and boys do equally well in class, guys get more exposure then girls and hence the disparity. The STEM initiative wants to erase that disparity by creating a platform for both girls and boys to get hands on technical experience at a very young age.
Introducing children to STEM at a young age would ensure a bright future, both for them and our nation. It will encourage the children towards innovative thinking. They will learn to find practical solutions to tactical problems, while exploring their own potential by taking forward their ideas to build something new. Women especially have a lot to gain from the introduction of STEM as they wouldn’t have to fight the society anymore to get experience. It will be a right. It’s still a right, but one which they are not able to avail to their own advantage. But only the government can make it a necessity.
Introducing STEM to girls at an early age would provide skilful and innovative thinkers for tomorrow. They would be efficient in the jobs they hold, while they would learn to follow their heart with the books they read. Reflect on this example from US – Women with STEM jobs earned 33 percent more than comparable women in non-STEM jobs; considerably higher than the STEM premium for men. As a result, the gender wage gap is smaller in STEM jobs than in non-STEM jobs in US (esa.doc.gov).
Women have always been assumed to follow rules, it’s time for them to break boundaries and do wonders in the field of science and research. Even in engineering colleges, the number of female students is very limited, it’s changing for sure and we believe STEM introduction early in the education system would certainly help reduce the same. The more girls are taught to value hands on experience, the more they would understand the importance of engineering and would be able to contribute more to the economy. Women will learn not to quit and persevere because now, they will have guidance. They will have a platform to perform. STEM education is their chance at learning the practical approach to studies.
STEM education will empower women and it will empower students. Innovation is the next big thing and so are women innovators!