Boys (85 per cent) are more willing to pursue a career in the field of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), compared to girls (57 per cent), finds a survey, highlighting the glaring issue of gender disparity in STEM fields in the country.
The reason: parents of boys (81 per cent) are more supportive of them pursuing next-gen technology education and STEM fields compared to parents of girls (per cent) who feel that the work environment in our country in these fields is more suitable for males and less conducive for females, revealed the survey led by Avishkaar — robotics, coding and edtech provider.
The survey found that 95 per cent children in India have males as their role models in the STEM field. This is due to a lack of female role models in the STEM industry.
The survey titled India’s Future in Next-Generation Tech & STEM was conducted in June 2021 among 5,000 parents and 5,000 children across Indian cities, including Delhi NCR, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad and Cochin.
According to the Global Gender Gap Report by World Economic Forum, released in March 2021, only an alarming 29.2 per cent technical roles are held by women in India; in fact, India has fallen 28 places in its ranking in 2021 when compared to 2020 — 140 from to 112.
“The process of building new things and creating new solutions is rife with failure and needs a lot of grit and resilience, both skills that we need to inculcate in our children. As such, it is important that we provide safe spaces for children, especially girls, to take risks and help them build tribes where they can brainstorm ideas and think outside the box,” said Pooja Goyal, COO, and Co-founder, Avishkaar, in a statement.
“The next important step is gender neutrality, where not every girl has to pursue STEM careers, but children who are really good at it and have interest in the field should have the opportunity to do that,” she added.
The survey also highlighted the need for schools to implement hands-on learning and introduce children to the world of innovation and move away from rote learning techniques. Nearly 33 per cent of parents feel that the current school curriculum is enough to help their child prepare for a future in next-gen tech and STEM to some extent and 90 per cent of parents feel that this aspect of the curriculum should be made a priority in school.