Women's Day 2021: STEM Education Lowering Gender Disparities And Encouraging A Brighter Future For Female Students

Our education system needs alterations and modifications to promote girl's and women's participation in the technical fields.

India is the second-most populous nation in the world and the STEM model is proven to be essential in India. If STEM education is adopted on a larger scale, it can be the nation’s largest strength. The Indian education system is considering a priority to develop a stronger STEM foundation. Therefore, to diversify and implement newer learning approaches, schools need to increase their engagement with EdTech businesses.

Newer learning approached gradually promote and encourage higher student’s participation in STEM learning. This has been achieved through established tinkering and vocational labs, compulsory sessions in the curriculum, using STEM-based learning toys at home and other experiential learning alternatives.

STEM education’s much involvement in the system is leading to greater opportunity for everyone. Gradually turning out to a greater contribution towards the economy, keeping the policy advancement aside. Since STEM education promotes active learning, developing inventiveness, creativity, and critical thinking, moderately diversifies various career fields

There’s also an opinion that STEM provides tons of opportunities for women in STEM to become self-sustaining and a GDP contributor. However, some assume that STEM acts like a catalyst to improve the quality and gender-responsiveness of education. On the contrary, some see’s it the other way. 

The disparity

There is a myth in our society that only a male student can do well in STEM education. Too many women are held back by biases, social norms and expectations influencing the quality of the education they receive and the subjects they study. A girl student is particularly underrepresented in Science and technological fields. 

Women with STEM degrees may not pursue STEM careers due to a lack of mentoring and career guidance. In addition, they may choose to avoid the challenges that women in STEM occupations face in the workplace. Issues such as discrimination in promotion, harassment, pay gaps, co-workers' treatment and lack of corporate policies supporting career development could discourage newcomers from pursuing STEM careers or spur current ones to exit.

Besides, in the modern era of the 21st-century, girls need an education beyond literacy and numeracy, which could equip them with the tools to equally and actively participate and solve complex challenges. Even in today’s time, women shouldn’t forget about prominent personalities such as Kalpana Chawla, Shakuntala Devi and Swati Mohan. They are no less than an Idol for those girl students pursuing STEM. 

Actions to be taken

The schools should create an environment where female students are encouraged to participate in Science and Maths-related programs to learn more about the subject. The encouragement should be so strong that young girls may not think that they have made a mistake when facing the challenges of completing a STEM major.

There should be an improved focus by motivating young girls to explore the typically male-dominated fields. One should always support female students in taking part in a STEM field and encourage them to do that, so they don't lose their focus.

Such transformative reform cannot be driven only by school programs. The stakeholders should aim to encourage public and private school's policymakers to promote the variation of education and equality for girls. They should also inspire girls to stand up and inspire others and create a network of thinking people. Efforts must be accelerated to train girls and young women for fair jobs, including STEM.

The government and private organizations should invest more in women teachers associated with STEM-based knowledge and skills. This will further enable and facilitate their teaching to young kids, thereby developing a female teacher pipeline for STEM subjects.

Increasing women's participation in STEM careers also has the power to close the gender pay gap and boost women's cumulative earnings over the period of next 10 years, expediting global economic development. 

Create initiatives to support girls' school-to-work transition, such as career guidance at school, apprenticeships, mentorships and work experience programmes – supporting girls' future aspirations and creating pathways for them to transition into the STEM workforce.

Forge public-private partnerships between education systems, governments and companies working in emerging technologies. For example, 3D technologies, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, robotics and gene therapy. We need marginalized girls to have opportunities for job-shadowing, scholarships and developing aspirations.

In essence, our education system needs alterations and modifications to promote girl's and women's participation in the technical fields. The continuous prevailing gender disparity needs to be detached from the definition of education and literacy. It is not just STEM, but in whichever field that is male dominant requires being brought to an equilibrium.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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international women's day 2021 education stem

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