How corporates encourage women in STEM


As per a UN report, India tops the world in producing female graduates in STEM but ranks 19th in employing them. Another report by the UN suggests that while 40% of Indians who graduate in STEM disciplines are women, only 14% of the total 28,000 scientists and engineers in research and development institutions.

To bridge the gender gap in the industries, there needs to be a focus on increasing women in STEM from the start of their careers. Retaining their research interest is foremost to increase women participation in scientific communities. Buddy4Study, a portal for scholarships, reveal as many as 25 scholarships for girls funded by major corporates. Several companies have special internship programme to give them a solid platform, but the CSR initiatives need to have more focus on girls from EWS.

L’Oreal’s ‘For Young Women in Science’ scholarship is awarded to 50 women worth 2.5 lakhs each to bright and deserving young women from all over India.

“At a micro level (household level), while the lower-middle-income group aspires to educate their daughter in market-relevant new-age courses. Their limited financial resources make it mostly unaffordable. Besides, if girls want to pursue graduation in science, the expenses further increase,” says Snehhal Chitneni, director, Communications, CSR, Public Affairs & Ethics, L’Oreal.

Scholarships encourage more women to join STEM and related fields by providing financial incentives. With many such scholarships running today, it encourages young girls to join the field. “These women then become role models to many others around them and motivate young girls and their families to break social barriers or perceived notions of associating STEM fields with gender,” adds Chitneni.

Besides, the most critical step is to shift the mindset of society and have educational institutes that encourage girls to opt for STEM education. Launched in 2014, Mastercard’s signature STEM education program Girls4Tech™ focusses on inspiring young girls to pursue STEM careers through a fun, engaging curriculum incorporating our deep expertise in payments technology and innovation, as well as encryption, fraud detection, data analysis and digital convergence.

“The corporates have an important role to play. A combination of gender-neutral policies and a culture that imbibes diversity and fosters inclusion can help in increasing representation of women in STEM careers are need of the hour. Corporates need to channelize their energy in changing the mindset of society and young girls,” Sukanyya Misra, senior vice president, India Technology Hub, Mastercard.

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