Stronger the STEM, Stronger the Nation

India's successful launch of Mangalyaan not just scripted history, but it changed the face of STEM education in India forever. We saw that the project was largely led by women scientists. However, there are not enough women in STEM and we have failed as a nation to bring that equality.

India is widely recognized for producing the highest number of female graduates in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), but women constitute merely 14 percent of the total 2,80,000 scientists, engineers, and technologists in research development institutions in India (UNESCO). And when it comes to employing them, we rank 19th globally. This under-representation of women in STEM puts them at a high risk of becoming obsolete in the world of technology. On the other hand, despite women contributing massively in the field of STEM, they are known to be paid less for their research work compared to men.

If you wonder what the sociology behind this is, there lies more than one reason. This is largely because of the societal paralysis than anything else. Women face discrimination right from their birth (though not all of them). This is just the beginning though as families stereotype that STEM is for men, and hence women are encouraged to opt for courses which suites them, i.e. less strenuous.

Even as colleagues, women's opinion & suggestions are heard less compared to their male counterparts. Aren't these enough to break someone's confidence? Even post marriage, a large number of STEM professionals quit their jobs to look after their family, hanging their boots forever. Only some of them wear those boots again and march in the field high-headed.

Even in its history of 120 years, only 57 women were awarded Nobel Prize in total and if we talk about STEM, 12 won in Physiology or Medicine (5.4 percent of 222 laureates in total), seven in Chemistry (3.8 percent of 186 laureates in total), and four in physics (1.9 percent in 216 laureates in total). So I think not only India, but globally there is a crisis for women in STEM. Hence not just India, but the world across need to work in tandem to ensure women are welcomed, appreciated and awarded in the field of STEM. We need more examples like Marie Curie and Irene Joliot-Curie, who are the only mother-daughter duo who won Nobel Prizes.

It's not they who have to work towards getting recognized but it's us as a society who needs to reflect within ourselves to introspect what can be changed or fixed to ensure more women power gets added to the global human resource. Helping them and even the men to become a champion in the STEM education is our current issue of `10 Most Promising STEM Education Institutes - 2021'. Our featured institutes are prominent in offering quality education. Read to know more about them.

Do let us know what you think!