What is pushing women out of STEM globally?

Technology is the driving force behind the fourth industrial revolution and women are called the next billion or the third billion after China and India. This is reason enough to not only realize the importance of women’s inclusion in tech or more broadly speaking STEM fields; but also harnessing women’s potential to trigger growth.

Comprising half of the population of the world, women’s inclusion leads to sustainable development.

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In many cases, men are still considered sole breadwinners so preferential treatment is given to them from the start at homes, schools right up to the corporate level. Statistics also show women are not taken seriously by companies as they tend to leave within the first decade of employment. And, when they are employed, more menial jobs are assigned to women especially fresh graduates as compared to men.

The impact of issues directly related to low participation of women in STEM is huge. Because more women leave STEM jobs mid level, there is also a dearth of female role models and mentors due to this non-availability of women in leadership or C-suite positions.

According to IDC MENA: “The number of female graduates in STEM courses has reached 56.8% at government universities, but numbers deplete once they enter the labor market.”

Although the numbers are low, what many female technologists feel is that technological revolution has in fact enabled women to be economically empowered thanks to a highly dynamic work schedule. Though unconscious biases still exist, countries like the UAE – with visionary leadership – has experienced how diversity triggers sustainable development; more importantly, how enabling and leveraging women’s potential triggers growth and positive economic longevity.

New policies that enable women’s mobility to work are being launched in the UAE. These include mandatory female voices in boardrooms, maternity leaves etc.

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