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The Gender Gap in STEM

Although the number of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is increasing, men still outnumber women. According to the report by UNESCO (2017), women constitute only 35% of all students enrolled in STEM-related disciplines globally, despite nearly equal participation in math and science courses at school. This difference between the number of men and women opting for STEM careers is caused by various factors. Here are some of them.

Gender Stereotypes

STEM disciplines are often considered to be "male" fields. Influenced by these stereotypes, girls may internalize beliefs that mathematics and science are more suitable for boys and get discouraged from pursuing a career in STEM.

Lack of Role Models

Having mentors and role models allows girls to envision themselves pursuing careers in STEM. Representation matters, it inspires and increases girls' confidence in their abilities.

Unwelcoming Culture

There are many instances of gender discrimination, harassment, and implicit bias in workplaces. This can drive many talented women away from STEM careers.


What can be done?

  • Ensuring equitable access to resources and educational opportunities in STEM for all students, regardless of gender or socio-economic background.

  • Highlighting achievements, stories, and contributions of women in STEM to inspire and motivate young girls to pursue STEM careers.

  • Implementing policies and practices that address gender bias, discrimination.

  • Implementing flexible work policies, such as remote work options, flexible hours, and parental leave policies, to support the work-life balance of women in STEM careers.

  • Creating inclusive and supportive work environments within STEM industries.






References:

The STEM Gap: Women and Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – AAUW : Empowering Women Since 1881. (2023, August 29). AAUW : Empowering Women Since 1881. https://www.aauw.org/resources/research/the-stem-gap/

Luckie, S. (2023, October 18). Why are there so few women in the STEM industry. WeAreTechWomen - Supporting Women in Technology. https://wearetechwomen.com/why-are-there-so-few-women-in-thestemindustry/#:~:text=Some%20key%20reasons%20for%20this,into%20adulthood%2C%20affecting%20career%20choices.

UNESCO. (2017). Cracking the code: girls’ and women’s education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). UNESCO Publishing.

Edgar, G. (2020, February 10). Why is There a Small Amount of Women in STEM? Women in Technology. https://www.womenintech.co.uk/small-amount-of-women-in-stem/


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