Gender Inequalities in STEM
By Anjali Dubey
Ah, STEM, the world of infinite possibilities from studying about chemicals to building rockets and automobiles whether it be in the lab, field, or an office cubicle. The field of STEM has its employees working everywhere - discovering planets, developing strategies, and making robots that will change the world. Though this field has made great contributions to the growth of humanity for centuries, why is it that a larger percentage of its workforce is men? It has been seen that since the 18th Century, women have shown less participation in the field than males. There are multiple reasons given by the society for the same “STEM is for males”, “women are not that interested in science” or “men are just naturally better at science”.
In a research conducted by the UN, it has been found that in most countries, the number of women studying in this field is exponentially higher than the women pursuing their higher education or even working in these fields. This is due to the gender biases and stereotypes that have been imposed in workspaces. As it is a “male dominated field,” women are often discouraged from joining the workforce. It is automatically assumed that their male counterparts have a stronger edge on the field while they have to work consistently to prove themselves and earn a respectable position. Stereotypical gender roles lead to women facing the “dual role syndrome” where they feel that in order to have a stable career, they are constantly sacrificing their family responsibilities or vice versa. Furthermore, the unavailability of flexible work hours, lower pay, and lesser leaves, specifically maternity leaves, make it difficult for women to survive in these fields.
In order to crush these biases, it is important to create safe workspaces where everyone feels equally respected irrespective of their gender and to create a society which does not deter young girls from pursuing their passion just because there are fewer females in the field. It is time that we work together. We, the young girls of this generation will show them that if given the wings, we will soar higher than ever before and will accomplish the unimagined. It is time that all of us with our courage, resilience, and determination prove that girls can and they will.