1840 was the year when Ada Lovelace devised the first computer program and it was 1963 when Soviet cosmonaut and engineer Valentina Tereshkova became the first women to go into outer space, however, even in the year 2020, the STEM sector is still struggling with getting women at the helm of science and technology; women comprise only 28 percent of all researchers across the world. Believe it or not, long-standing stereotypes against women still prevail as a majority of people still think that men can handle technology and numbers better than women, and women are better suited to sectors like education, psychology, and the social sciences and others. Aren’t we living in what is being known as The Fourth Industrial Revolution? Then why is it unacceptable for women to cross the lines of gender when she can walk across outer space?
They find that they have to leave a family behind and are expected to still be complete caregivers
It was always thought that technology and advancements in science will bring about a more equal world, but far from it because it seems as if certain genders are being pushed away from AI and other STEM careers. However, this also means that there are a lot of changes that need to made to ensure that everyone is included and the place to begin is capturing the attention of young girls and allowing them to imagine that they can do anything. “Surely, culture and family come into play when it comes to choosing one’s profession. Smart policy can also play a key role in ensuring equal access to finance and connectivity, as exemplified by Nordic and Baltic countries. Incentives are key,” says Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, Assistant Administrator and Director of UNDP in Europe and CIS. Secondly, when women enter the STEM workforce, they often find that they have to leave a family behind and many of them are expected to still be complete caregivers in spite of holding down a full-time job. Hence, it is vital that organizations have childcare and day-care services where women don’t feel the need to quit their jobs because they want to have children or have children much later. They need to know that they can have children if they want, and when they want, and that success and being childless, does not have to go hand in hand.
Women are lauded when they walk in outer space but not when they walk after a certain time in public spaces
Recently, NASA conducted an all-women spacewalk and even though this was groundbreaking in the history of the US and of the world, it is unfortunate that women can be free to spacewalk, but not cross the line of gender and it is also disturbing that women are lauded when they walk in outer space but not when they walk after a certain time in public spaces. Therefore, more than policy changes, there must be a mindset overhaul in the minds of all people, regardless of gender. After which they must be encouraged to pursue “targeted training programs so women can update their skills in rapidly changing fields and professions and achieve leadership positions in science and tech. Making sure women are in the driver’s seat is the best way to correct gender imbalances from within the industry.” There must be support from other women too, historically women have always been pitted against each other, but this is no longer true because it has been amazing to see how more women are coming out in support of other women and this must not stop.
Image credit: The New York Times