UNESCO: Women still under-represented in Science and Technology

According to analysis by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), women remain considerably under-represented across STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) studies and careers.

Key Highlights

  • Statistics: According to UNESCO, globally only 29% of those in science research and development (R&D) are women, with a low 19% in south and west Asia and high 48% in central Asia.
  • Reason: Most young women do not identify with STEM studies or careers and assume that these subjects would not align with their desire to be creative and make an impact in world.
  • Consequences: As per experts this trend would further widen the gender gap in technology world and by shying away from STEM Women will also miss contributing to next generation of technologies and innovations.

Recommendations:

  • Teachers and technologists must take up responsibility to break misperception among women that STEM does not relate to world at large.
  • They must build passion for STEM subjects among women students by designing computer science curricula around societal challenges and giving young women more exposure to female role models.
  • Improving Awareness:
  • Example- Microsoft, the technology major has taken up an initiative to encourage women to pursue careers in STEM and is working to get students and young women excited about STEM subjects.
  • Such initiatives help raise awareness about issues that cause girls to drop out of or lose interest in STEM and aims to hold their excitement by showing them that if they stay engaged how they can change the world.

Steps Taken By UNESCO

  • To strengthen and focus UNESCO’s work in support of gender equality in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) it launched STEM and Gender Advancement (SAGA) project in 2015. It is a global UNESCO project supported by Swedish Government through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
  • It offers governments and policymakers a variety of tools to help reduce current global gender gap existing at all levels of education and research in STI fields.

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