The Lady Scientist: She’s Classier, But Disappearing 0 163

STEM careers are pitted with a gender imbalance. Here’s why:

While nations worldwide are striving to bridge the gender imbalance in fields such as law, medicine, and politics, gender disparities remain a gaping reminder of our social and cultural impairment. Women are consistently paid less than men in the same occupations and for the responsibilities. They are, therefore, statistically less likely to embrace innovative entrepreneurship.

Such discrepancies in significant sectors such as business, incomes, and productivity bar national development and cultural advancement. As we stand silent, the imbalance also threatens to tip the scales of scientific progress.

Women’s integration in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers has been stagnated by a social culture hostile to gender equality. While considerably more women graduate from universities than men, their numbers are marginal in STEM fields – a meager 24 percent (National Center for Education Statistics) that fails to reflect apparent cultural commitments to equal opportunity and representation.

Credit: PBS News Hour: Why the STEM gender gap is overblown

As society becomes more digitized and innovative, rather than heightening, this statistic only exacerbates. Globally, the proportion of women attaining engineering or computer science degrees waned from 2004-2014. As males consistently earn greater wages, women are additionally compelled to remain confined in the home- the U.S. Census documents that solely 1 in 7 women possessing a STEM degree actively works in the field.

Why such disproportion, particularly in the sectors that revolutionize society with new ideas, innovation, and reformation?

Most significantly, restrictive cultural norms are instilled in girls’ thoughts during her adolescent years. Encouraged to immerse in not sciences, but humanities, girls often cement an understanding that boys simply excel more in science- a flawed reasoning that transmits through their educational years.

Even if they overcome these setbacks, women are additionally confronted by the daunting prospect of being the sole woman in a male-dominated STEM environment. She is, therefore, more prone to encounter discrimination and inequity in the absence of female role models/authority in the workplace.

So, why is this important? Why is this widening gap alarming?

In the modern century, fairness should not be a concern. Yet we continue to grapple with it, as its absence plagues the sectors crucial to shaping our tomorrow. If women are not maximizing their potential in STEM, it is evidence that the complete economic and social productivity of the field is not being fulfilled. With equity in STEM, both the nation and the globe may heighten constructive generation in the dynamic field of science.

STEM fields are lenses of sight into the reservoir of the future. If gendered discrimination continues to dismantle these fields of study, it is a tragic reflection of how backwards the institutions that cultivate progressivism really are. If STEM fields are not maximizing their productivity, sectors ranging from economies to manufacturing are also weakened.

Women who have traversed cultural and social barriers to pursue careers in science must attain economic and occupational equality, for empowered women are keys to a prosperous future. Around the globe, educational interventions such as inclusive instruction in classrooms, introduction of women visionaries, and collaborative achievement have bolstered women’s esteem and assertiveness.

Such small, yet significant alterations in educational norms are the first steps to loosening the masculine intellectual and economical stronghold on STEM fields. Transforming cultural perspectives of today will not divide, but will rather unite genders in constructing a syncretistic, equal, and ideal tomorrow.

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Mili Dave is an avid feminist, traveler, and dreamer. She loves to juxtapose themes of remembrance and reality in her writing, and one day hopes to strike the elusive balance between the two. Mili is a staff contributor to Women's Republic Magazine and the Feminine Collective. When not writing, she is usually reading a mystery novel or absorbed in a classic Bollywood movie. She is currently working on her first novel.

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