Experts View

Girls & Women in Science – India Holds the Baton but Breaking the Workplace Glass Ceiling is Where the Challenge Lies

Melody Lopez

Melody Lopez Director & Chief of Staff, Crayon Software Experts India

an American Historian and the first woman to serve as the President of Harvard University, said, ‘We educate women because it is smart. We educate women because it changes the world.’ Data from UNESCO in 2022 says that only 35% of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students in higher education globally are women. But India shows that 44% of total graduates in STEM are women. India ranks second in the world’s top 20 countries with the highest number of women Tech CEOs. The International Day of Women and Girls in Science observed on 11th February every year since 2015 acts as a testimony to Drew Faust’s statement on women’s education and India’s efforts.

The United Nations passed the resolution as an acknowledgement of how women have been underrepresented in STEM fields. This year’s theme is ‘full and equal participation of women and girls in STEM fields promoting gender equality and eliminating gender discrimination.’ The data from UNESCO shows that the trend in India for women in STEM education is positive. While education in STEM fields shows a higher number of women graduating, the numbers are declining as they progress into the workforce. Organizations must stabilize the work environment with a sustainable approach for women. The ‘silent resignation’ by women holds a mirror for the difficulties in bridging the gaps within organizations. The lack of leadership training, toxic environment and no right DEI measures is just the surface.

Mentoring women for leadership positions and allowing flexibility in the workplace for women to thrive in STEM fields will certainly help break the glass ceiling. With India already leading at a global level in terms of women graduating in STEM fields, even minor fine-tuning in work culture will do wonders. This will boost the efforts of world forums in forming and dedicating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

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