Expanding Women’s Role in Science & Technology
Women education in India has always been a debatable topic that can be traced back to a detailed history of oppression, societal expectations, and gender stereotypes. India has had a history of suppressing the rise of women in any prospective field. This is evident from how in the ancient time, they were referred to as “the weaker class” and “child-bearers”.
They have been denied the basic right to education just because the religious texts like The Upanishads have created a gender demarcated role for them which is to bear children and take care of the house while the man goes out to earn money.
What is important to notice is how the reasons to deny women their basic right to education kept on changing according to the society’s cultural and religious settings, for example, in the Muslim Period women were exempted from the same because of the “Purdah system”, or that in the British Period, their education was considered ‘a waste of resources’ on the grounds that lady clerks were deemed to be unnecessary in the British office for handling administrative matters.
However, India post- independence, brought a sort of much needed political and moral awakening for the citizens of the country. The ones who thought that the fairer sex is better off without education became the revolutionaries who started fighting for their rights.
India, after 1857, saw the formation up of new laws to educate the girl child and National Committee for Women’s Education, all of this can be counted as some of the small steps that India took to empower female education.
When we look at the bigger picture of education in India today in the 21st century, there is an observation which never misses our eyes. Why there is such a reduced participation of females in the STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)?
There is no gender parity between the male and female ratio when it comes to studying science subjects in schools. However, the difference sure does widen when it comes to working in the scientific and technical forces.
Statistics show that 62% of women account for the workforce in the social science sector. However, men outnumber women in STEM professions. Women comprise:
35.2% of chemists are females; 11.1% of physicists and astronomers are women; 33.8% of environmental engineers are women; 22.7% of chemical engineers are feamles;
17.5% of civil, architectural, and sanitary engineers are females; 17.1% of industrial engineers are women; 10.7% of electrical or computer hardware engineers are females, and 7.9% of mechanical engineers are women.
Many females are deterred from entering the technical field because of some outdated stereotypes attached with the gender established career orientation, this being the main reason for their lack of participation in the STEM field.
Men from their childhood are encouraged to pursue careers that are technically oriented, whereas, females are encouraged to choose careers that are considered “sensitive enough” for them to handle.
My opinion on this topic is rather liberated, I stand for equal rights not only in education but also in terms of equal distribution of career prospects.
For, it is high time that, today, where women are crossing all the stereotypical boundaries and efficiently handling both their professional and personal lives, they need to excel in the technical field as well for the sense of liberal feminism that still lacks in India needs to be established to bring out a better living standard for women.
Women can do wonders in the technical field. Indian women are taking the technical field by their own choice.
Women like Vanitha Narayan who is the Managing Director of IBM Pvt. Ltd., Neelam Dhawan who is the Managing Director of HP India, Kumud Srinivasan who is the President of Intel India and many more like them, are setting an example for all the female tech-enthusiasts out there to break the norm that society forces them to follow; to free themselves of the belief that they are competent just for a particular line of subjects, that is, Humanities and excel in whatever field they wish to be in.
To be the constructor of their own dreams and to judge their interest and fight to strive for it, if necessary. Liberalism. Freedom to Choose. Strive for Equality. Fight for Individuality. A truly Independent India where women are given equal opportunities in the technical field, to begin with.