NariShakti Varta on STEM and Financial Literacy for young women

UNICEF YuWaah facilitated the NaariShakti conversation, on ‘STEM and Financial Literacy for Young Women’. STEM refers to “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics”.

About YuWaah

YuWaah is a UNICEF-initiated multi-stakeholder global platform. It aims to prepare young people to transition from education and learning to productive work and active citizenship.

About UNICEF

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is a United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide. UNICEF has its presence in 192 countries.

About the event

  • The event was part of the Ministry of Women and Child Development’s ‘Iconic Week’ celebrating International Women’s Day under the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’.
  • Union Minister for Women & Child Development, Smriti Irani participated in the event.
  • Adolescent girls from different parts of India also participated and shared their experiences, aspirations, and suggestions on gender equality in STEM.
  • The participants discussed how to nurture young women to pursue careers in STEM-related fields.
  • They also discussed the benefits of women’s participation in STEM to India’s economic growth along with Government Programs promoting women’s participation in STEM.

Women’s participation in STEM fields

According to the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE), 2018-19, around 43% of STEM graduates in India are women, which is the highest in the world, but their share in STEM jobs in India is a mere 14%. This indicates a ‘leaky pipeline’ in STEM fields.

Challenges to the participation of women in STEM

  • Stereotypical gender roles in society.
  • Stressors related to marriage and childbirth.
  • Lack of physical safety during the commute to work.
  • Sexual and other types of harassment in workplaces.
  • ‘Dual role’ syndrome (Professional decisions are affected by domestic responsibilities).
  • Lack of suitable workplace or benefits like travel allowance, lodging, crèche, etc.

Initiatives of the government

  • Knowledge Involvement Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN) scheme provides opportunities for women scientists in moving up the academic ladder.
  • Mobility Scheme under KIRAN addresses relocation issues of women scientists.
  • ‘Women Scientist Scheme’ provides career opportunities to unemployed women scientists, especially those who had a break in their careers.
  • SERB-POWER scheme aims to mitigate gender disparity in research funding.
  • “Vigyan Jyoti” Scheme encourages girl students to pursue education and career in S&T.
  • Department of Biotechnology’s BioCARe encourages women in Biotechnology research.
  • Indo-US Fellowship for Women in STEM encourages international collaborations.

Participation of women in STEM will determine India’s economic productivity, social mobility, and innovation.

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