Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are fields that have systemically kept women and gender minorities at bay since they have been designated as male pursuits. The underrepresentation of women in STEM can be attributed to gender bias, patriarchal norms, and disparity in access to continued education that gatekeep women from pursuing studies and careers in the field.
Globally, only 33 percent of researchers are women. Just 22 percent of the professionals working in artificial intelligence, and 28 percent of engineering graduates account for women. The Indian scenario is slightly more promising, with 43 percent of the total graduates in STEM being women. However, this metric does not translate into workforce or research numbers.
We are still a society that believes in the assignment of gender roles. We collectively think of women as caregivers and nurturers, who must be in charge of running the domestic aspects of our lives. Women who manage to parallelly have a career in any field are subjected to the double burden of managing the household and their work. This practice is often glorified by reinforcing that women are good multitaskers.
This deprives most women of the mind space, focus, and resources to invest in fields like STEM, which require specialised training, academic commitment, and effort. Most of the achievements of women and gender minorities in STEM are not given the credit or visibility that is due. The field is one that is heavily masculine in its structure and conscience. Women are often not considered strong, resilient, or intelligent enough to handle STEM-based jobs.
This has been disproved time and again by the achievements of women in STEM, going on to win numerous recognitions, attain coveted jobs, as well as be part of ground-breaking research and cutting-edge scientific experiments. Nonetheless, such instances are still not common, pointing toward the inadequacy of access to women when it comes to pursuing STEM.
The lack of gender equality in STEM not only affects women but also the technology and policy outcomes of science. Most often, technology works in tandem with social problems to identify barriers and provide solutions. The lack of a gender lens and women on the decisive teams of such innovations results in products and services designed with vacuums in gender inclusivity.
In this context, we at Feminism In India invite submissions on Gender and STEM, throughout August 2022. We hope to add to the discourse on gender disparities in STEM, and highlight the need for a comprehensive gender lens in the field for better outcomes, as well as bridging inequities.
Here are a few pointers which may help you articulate your thoughts:
- The need for gender lens in STEM
- Technology and gender
- Artificial intelligence, privacy and gender
- Public policy, technology and gender sensitivity
- Empowerment through technology
- Queer coding and LGBTQIA+ allyship through STEM
- The interaction between women’s health and technology
- Intersectionality, algorithms, and gender bias
- Profiles of lesser-known women, trans and queer achievers in STEM
- Representation of gender and STEM in popular culture
- Labour participation of women and STEM
- STEM education and gender roles
- Patriarchy, assignment of gender to careers, and STEM
- Reproductive technology and gender discrimination
- Personal essays on experience in STEM
This list is not exhaustive and you may feel free to write on topics within the theme that we may have missed out here.
Please refer to our submission guidelines before you send us your entries. You may email your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to your drafts and hope you enjoy writing them!
Featured Illustration: Ritika Banerjee for Feminism In India