Even today, when we ask our neighbours, "What does your son want to be when he grows up?”, they’d proudly announce, “a doctor” or “an engineer”. Ask them about their daughter and one might hear a stereotypical response about how no matter what she studies, her future is going to be relatively domestic.
There are those seemingly ambitious parents who push their daughters to get into creative or managerial fields and roles. For most women in India, even today, science is usually not a popular career choice. But, it need not be so! Curiosity is a gender-neutral concept. It sparks in every child, and if nurtured, any and every child has the potential to become a successful engineer, astronaut, scientist, and more. But –
“That requires dismantling gender stereotypes. On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, let’s pledge to end the gender imbalance in science.” António Guterres, UN Secretary-General
We’ve also learnt that this gender disparity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is not just an Indian phenomenon. A UNESCO report (2014 - 2016) points out that STEM-related fields in higher education are chosen by as few as only about 30% of female students.
This International Day of Women and Girls in Science, let’s vow to support the curiosity of our girl children and contribute towards encouraging more women in any field that they choose to make a career in, including those in STEM.