Bengaluru,Feb 10, 2018 : Though many women enjoy studying science, only a small percentage of them actually make it their career.
The United Nations marks the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on Feb. 11 with the aim of achieving gender equality in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The UN is trying to create opportunities for women to break the barriers that threaten the pursuit of their goals. The organisation conducts a number of events every year to encourage women and girls to study and work in STEM fields.
Only 30 percent of female students opt for STEM-related fields as a career choice, according to data from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics. The data reveals that the number of women enrolling in universities is rising, but there is a gradual decline in the number pursuing research as part of their higher education.
Sandhya S. Visweswariah, Professor and Chair, Molecular Reproduction, Development & Genetics, IISc, says: "Just because you are a scientist, it does not mean that you cannot have a family. Women need to believe in themselves that they are equal to their male counterparts."
Family, marriage and cultural background are major influences in a woman’s career choices.
"In India, having women in any field is a far-fledged dream as infanticide and foeticide still prevail in the country," says Dr Padmini Prasad, Obstetrician, Gynaecologist and Sexologist.
A study conducted by the UN in 14 countries revealed that in science-related fields, the number of female students graduating with a bachelor’s degree is 18 percent, those graduating with a Master’s degree is 8 percent and those getting a Doctorate is 2 percent. The percentage for male students is 37, 18 and 6 percent respectively.