India Should Learn from the Progress of Others to Improve Women’s Presence in STEM
Women in STEM has been receiving a lot of media attention, such as the role of women engineers in making ISRO satellite launches a success. In the IT and ITeS space, there are more Indian female programmers (31% in 2015) than that of US (21% in 2015). However, as only about 14% (2015) of researchers in India are women (as compared to global average of 28% in 2015), there remains a gender gap in STEM in India. India could well take some inspiration from the success of Iran where 70% (2015) of science and engineering students are women, and the effort taken by Israel to promote increased participation by women in establishing startups (close to 9% in 2016 of tech startups, in and around Tel Aviv were women led). The starting point for progress in this area is encouraging more girls to take up STEM subjects. The second step is to encourage women to stick with STEM when beginning their careers. Looking to these successful models elsewhere will not only benefit women in India, but also India’s growth and lead to greater gender parity.