Leadership, education, and career in the context of women and STEM in India

https://youtu.be/7vhO3w5z4yo

Did you know that 43% of STEM graduates in India are women? So it’s logical to assume that they’d be holding approximately the same amount of roles in the field collectively right? But that’s not the case. Women occupy a meager 14% of the jobs in the field. Why is there such a big gap?

Avishkaar hosted an online panel discussion on 20th March 2021 deliberating this vast gender gap in the field of STEM. Despite conversations of inclusion, diversity and new policy guidelines in favour of working women, where are the women in the next generation tech careers? Interventions in the media level and policy level are a start but they don’t seem to be enough.

The eminent panel comprised of our very own COO and Co-founder, Pooja Goyal; Kuppulakshmi Krishnamoorthy, Global Head – Zoho for Startups; Khushboo Shrivastava, Founder and Chief Evangelist, Coulomb.ai, and Nidhi Pratapneni, SVP, Product, Analytics & Modelling, Public Affairs, Wells Fargo. The dialogue was moderated by Amrit Ahuja, Communication Consultant, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation India, LLP Contract as Avishkaar platformed a discussion of problems faced by women at various stages of their lives- from highschool to top management. Are we, as a society, being as supportive as we could be?

The need for a tribe or an ecosystem of like-minded thinkers and people who support and facilitate the ambitions of young girls; people to look up to as well as work with. An ecosystem like this would play an integral role in encouraging women to take up STEM careers.

Ms. Khushboo Shrivastava, as a woman who’s pursued a career in STEM emphasised the importance of a bridge year filled with internships, and projects along with education to gain experience of what the real world would be like. Understanding the difference between the theory learnt in a classroom and its practical applicability is a must when an individual wants to make anything they want into a career.

The panelists also shed light on an unconscious bias that most of us seem to have. Due to this bias, the need for male managers being trained to deal with and be part of discussions and forums around this topic arises. They also highlighted some of the practices companies are taking up to address these biases and shift the narrative such as the inclusion of software tools to point out biases reflecting in marketing campaigns and even chatbots to let you know your own gender biases. The accomplished women on our panel also steered toward solution based thinking assessing the pragmatics of where our society is currently at in its attempt to bridge the vast gender gap in tech careers; particularly STEM.

Watch these strong and successful ladies call out and challenge the gender bias and inequality women face in STEM careers and also discuss potential solutions to encourage advances in these fields right here.

As a society, wishing for equality and empowerment isn’t enough, we need to actively participate in dialogue, the process and voice out the problems for a solution to be exercised. In order to effectively bridge the gender gap between men and women whether it’s in the field of STEM or any other field, we must take charge!