Women constitute nearly 50% of the world’s population. However, their participation in STEM degree programs and courses, as well as the workforce, is rather disproportionate. While all fields exhibit a gender gap, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) require immediate attention as these can have a huge impact in addressing real world issues.
According to UNESCO, only 35% of the total number of students across the world pursuing higher education in STEM fields are women. This number varies within the STEM disciplines with the number of female students falling to as low as 3% in information and communication technology (ICT) subjects.
Not surprisingly, a similar gender gap is seen in the workforce. Only 30% of the STEM workforce worldwide is female. The corresponding figure for India is a mere 14%.
“STEM fields play a prominent role in the economy today and have implications in every aspect of modern life. Considering the potential job growth and relevance of careers in this area, we must create paths that encourage and help women to join in these traditionally male dominated domains.”
~ Priya Jadhav, Founder, Plaksha
There are many reasons that act as a hindrance for women to enter and thrive in the STEM fields. These include, social norms, conditioning, expectations and biases, and lack of access to education, mentors, and role models.
Plaksha’s mission is to change the narrative and bridge the gender gap in STEM by promoting women in STEM and allied fields.
We believe that women bring diverse perspectives and experiences to address grand challenges. Increased participation of women in STEM education and workforce will not only help narrow the gender gap and representation, but also prevent biases in any products or solutions produced. “Our vision is to provide both genders the opportunity to create technological solutions for the future.”
~ Sumita Ambasta, Founder & Trustee, Plaksha
At Plaksha, our commitment to encourage and support women in STEM, build a career in STEM fields and transform the world with technology, is exhibited in different ways.
Our mission is further strengthened by the commitment of our founding community, whose generous contributions have made it possible for us to create opportunities for our women students.
“Plaksha’s commitment to promoting women in STEM aims to address the different challenges that prevent women students from pursuing education and careers in STEM. With financial aid, support, and a plethora of opportunities, Plaksha seeks to achieve a target of 50% women students across all academic programs.”
~ Divyata Ashiya, Founder & Trustee, Plaksha
This commitment has enabled us to conduct extensive outreach programs to create awareness among women students from diverse socio-economic and geographical backgrounds about the opportunities that await them. It has also empowered us to offer need and merit-based scholarships to ensure financial support for them in STEM fields.
The scholarships have a positive impact on their retention and success, thus inspiring future generations of women to pursue careers in STEM. In addition to philanthropic support, our founding community is committed to creating growth opportunities for women in STEM by mentoring them, guiding them in their careers, creating a network, and promoting women-led entrepreneurial ventures, in order to help them grow.