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There is a big gender gap in the field of STEM learning: Survey

By Sanjoli Solanki,

Parents are still reluctant about letting girl children into STEM fields due to the work environment, survey reveals.

STEM fields are highly dominated by male students and mentors making it a rigid and non-inclusive discipline.

The rapidly growing fields of engineering and computer science have remained male-dominated ever since their emergence. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields are often viewed as masculine attaching several gender stereotypes to it while also questioning the caliber of females. Technology and engineering fields attract fewer female students, making it an inflexible and non-inclusive discipline. Throughout their education span, girls and women are systematically steered away from science and math, limiting their training and options for adult careers in these fields. Notably, a recent survey called India’s Future in Next-Generation Tech & STEM, conducted by the ed-tech company Avishkaar, revealed that 95 percent of children were inspired by male role models in the field of STEM. 

India’s Future in Next-Generation Tech & STEM: Findings 
The survey was conducted in June 2021 including 5,000 parents and children from Delhi NCR, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Cochin among other Indian cities. Here are the key findings: 

  • 50 percent of parents believe that societal pressures are the root cause for the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields.  
  • 42 percent of parents believe that family pressure and parental influence affect career choices. 
  • 30 percent of parents were under the impression that the working environment in STEM fields is inappropriate for female candidates. 
  • Parents further emphasized the importance of hands-on learning and exposure of students to the world of innovation to be able to move away from rote learning techniques. 
  • 53 percent of parents use the hands-on learning approach to maintain their children’s interest in next-generation technology and STEM fields. 
  • A drop down to 33 percent of parents believed that the current curriculum is sufficient to aid their child’s future preparation in STEM fields. 
  • 90 percent of parents are of the opinion that the STEM aspect of education should be prioritized in school. 
  • 81 percent of parents with male children believe that STEM education is crucial for their kids in comparison to 68 percent of parents with female children. 
  •  85 percent of male kids were keen on pursuing a career in STEM fields while only 57 percent of female kids showed interest in the same. 
  • 56 percent of all parents want their kids to pursue IT and technology, with a further categorization of 46 percent science and 43 percent in favour of mathematics. 
  • Only a limited group of parents (23 percent) wished for their child to pursue arts-related fields.  
  • 54 percent of students wish to pursue science in the future and 57 percent are interested in IT/Technology. 

The benefits of STEM learning 
STEM learning provides a base for students who are willing to pursue careers in IT/Technology and related fields. The collaborative learning agenda prepares young minds to become successful in the future with a skillset like no other. Here are a few benefits associated with STEM learning: 

  • Fosters imagination and creativity leading to the development of new ideas and innovations. 
  • Builds resilience while students learn to adapt to various working conditions. 
  • It encourages students to experiment allowing them to take risks and broaden their skills. 
  • STEM education allows students to work together, building team-spirit qualities in students. 
  • It allows the proper application of knowledge in practical terms along with the theory of subjects. 
  • Teaches students some crucial life skills like adaptability, problem-solving, and analytical reasoning.