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Gender gap - Shanmugam IAS academy in coimbatore
Gender gap


What’s in news?

The ‘International Day of Women and Girls in Science’ was observed. The article displays the Gender gap in the field of Science.

Key data’s:

  • Date: The day was approved by the UN to be observed on February 11th of every year.
  • Aim: The concept behind the day is to promote equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. 
  • Gender gap: Even though, the scientists and mathematicians have been women, they were remained under-represented in comparison to their male counterparts.
  • Statistics by UNESCO: The following are the data factsheet prepared by the UNESCO to aware about the gender gap in Science;
    • % researchers: Among the total researchers – professionals engaged in the conception or creation of new knowledge – only 28% of them are women. In India this drops to 13.9%.
    • Nobel Prize: Out of 616 Laureates who won the Nobel Prize in various category between 1901 and 2019, only 19 women won the Nobel Prize in various category. Among that 19 women, Marie Curie won two times – totally 20 prizes won by the females. The following is the statistics;
      • Physics – 3
      • Chemistry – 5
      • Medicine – 12
    • Abel Prize: Karen Uhlenbeck, the American mathematician won this prize and created a record as the first woman to win the Abel Prize after 16 male mathematicians. It is a Norwegian prize awarded to one or more outstanding mathematicians.
    • Fields Medal: Since 1936, Only one women mathematician has won this prize apart from 59 male mathematician. She is late Maryam Mirzakhani who belongs to Iran.
  • Science courses:
    • STEM courses: In the total, only 30% of Women students select STEM related fields in higher education. 
  • Female representation is ultimately low in information technology (3%), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5%) and engineering and allied streams (8%).

Female representation in India:

  • Prepared by: The report was prepared by NITI Aayog and submitted in 2016-17.
  • Time period: The time period taken for the survey is 5 years 2011-16.
  • Representation: The female’s representation in various UG courses were;
    • Engineering:3% of female students
    • Medical Science – 4.3% of female students
  • The female’s representation in PG Courses were low because of the restricted presence of women in higher studies and research in science related field.
  • Reason for this gap: The reason mentioned for this were the Self-Confidence between boys and girls.
  • Even though, the boys didn’t perform well than girls in their schoolings, boys choose the field of science and mathematics with self-confidence and with low anxiety.
  • The low anxiety level and high confidence make them to achieve.
  • In contrast, the level of anxiety was high among girls and with low confidence they do poorly.
  • This is not the reason in every discipline it may vary.

Links to note:

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