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  • 01 February, 2021

  • 8 Min Read

Education Data: Gender issues

Education Data: Gender issues

  • Each year in December, the prestigious Nobel Prize is awarded to scientists who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind.
  • However, since its inception in 1901, only 25 women have won a Nobel Prize in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine and Economics — a distressing disparity that reflects deeply ingrained gender stereotypes, biases and male-dominated cultures.
  • Worldwide, women are not encouraged to pursue educations and careers in science and technology. Biases, both conscious and unconscious, limit girls’ and women’s progress within these fields.
  • Not only are people more likely to associate science and technology with men than with women, but also often hold negative opinions of women in “masculine” positions like computer scientists and engineers.
  • Moreover, women are often judged less competent than their male colleagues. The few women who decide to pursue careers in science and technology are also paid less for their work compared to men and experience huge difficulties in advancing in their careers.
  • India tops world rankings in producing female graduates in STEM with 43% but employs only 14% of them.
  • In comparison, Sweden produces 35% female STEM graduates and employs 34% of them.
  • According to research from New York University’s AI Now Institute, 80% of AI professors are male and the situation is equally distressing on the industry side.
  • Tech giants like Facebook and Google might be on the cutting-edge of AI technology and research, but only 10-15% of their AI workforces are women. This is problematic as algorithms written by men end up skewed to favour men, especially white men.
  • When deployed in society (and increasingly so at a large scale), this translates into preferential treatment for one group (white men), while other groups may be ignored.
  • With the rapid digitisation transforming global societies at an unprecedented scale, the under-representation of women in science and technology puts them at the high risk of being displaced by technology.
  • The fight against gender disparity in science and technology must be fought by all — families, educational institutions, companies and governments.
  • Gender equality is not just an ethical imperative, but also a business priority. Organisations with greater diversity among their executive teams tend to have higher profits and greater innovation capability.
  • In fact, McKinsey & Company’s Global Institute report found that narrowing the gender gap could add between $12 and $28 trillion to the global GDP.

Source: TH

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