Percentage of STEM women graduates in India higher compared to developed nations: Union government

NEW DELHI: The percentage of women graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at tertiary level in India is higher compared to developed nations like the US, UK, Germany and France, the Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.

The information was shared by Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in response to a written question.

While in India the female share of graduates in STEM was 42.72 per cent in 2016, that of the United States was 33.99 per cent, Germany 27.14, United Kingdom 38.10, France 31.81 and Canada 31.43 per cent.

The trend continued in 2017 and 2018 when the percentage of women in STEM in India was 43.93 and 42.73.

To a question seeking details of the number of STEM graduates over the last three years and whether there are more men than women in STEM, Pradhan shared the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) data for past three years which revealed that while the number of men have decreased from 12.48 lakh in 2017-18 to 11.88 lakh in 2019-20, the number of women grew from 10 lakh to 10.56 lakh during the same period.

“The government under Department of Science and Technology has taken several steps to increase the participation of women in STEM for higher education. This includes implementation of women exclusive schemes like ‘Knowledge Involvement Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN)’ to encourage women in the field of science and technology.

“The ‘mobility’ programme has been introduced to address relocation issue of working women scientists. Further ‘Indo-US Fellowship for Women in STEMM’ (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) was launched to provide opportunities to Indian women scientists, engineers and technologists to undertake international collaborative research in premier institutions in the US for duration of 3-6 months,” Pradhan said.

“The Consolidation of University Research through Innovation and Excellence in Women Universities (CURIE) provides support to develop research infrastructure and state-of-the-art research facilities in women universities and to help enhancing women’s participation in research and development activities in science and technology domain,” the minister added.

The minister also shared a set of World Bank data which showed that at least till 2016 there are more Indian women graduate in STEM compared to the US, UK, Germany and France, among others.