International Day of Women and Girls in Science
Despite large efforts made over the past decades to narrow the gender gap in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, major inequalities still persist. Women and girls still face vast challenges in enrolling, accessing and maintaining their roles in STEM fields. A major concern in many countries is not only limited to the number of girls attending school, but the limited educational pathways available for those that do step into the classroom. Many countries are also concerned about how to retain female students in STEM, in academia and industry. According to UNESCO’s, Girls’ and Women’s Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) report (2017), female students represent only 35% of all students enrolled in STEM-related fields of study at higher education level globally. The report notes that gender differences in STEM education participation at the expense of girls begin as early as in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in Science- and Math-related play and are more visible at higher levels of education.
The continued under representation of women and girls in STEM translates to an underutilization of the human capital dividend. In Africa, women constitute about 52% of the total population. More women also enroll in education but more so in the humanities, arts and commercial programmes as compared to the STEM disciplines. In sub-Saharan Africa, women comprise around 28 % of those pursuing STEM careers, the average is 30 per cent This also adversely affects the skills gap in the STEM professions.
25 February 2022
Windhoek - Namibia