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Research shows Indian girls prefer science subjects

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The second edition of the Mastercard Girls in Tech research reveal that majority of girls in India prefer to pursue a career in Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for a stable profession and satisfying remuneration. The study was conducted in December 2016 across 2,270 girls between the age group of 12 – 25 across six countries in Asia Pacific.
The research highlights that while gender gap in India still exists, there is greater acceptability amongst girls in choosing STEM subjects as a career choice with only 34 per cent of girls opting for non-STEM profession. As expected, parents were identified as the key barriers for girls to choose STEM subjects. Forty percent of the respondents felt that educational institutions can help improve the situation, by preparing female STEM undergraduates for STEM careers by way of offering more internship opportunities.
Further the research sheds light on the sentiments around career planning and job satisfaction amongst professionals and students studying STEM & non – STEM subjects in India. It signifies that a majority of STEM graduates were clear on their choice of career and decided to pursue the stream in college at 21 years of age. With a high job satisfaction, 68 per cent of STEM professionals found employment in less than 6 months as against non-STEM professionals who took a year to decide on their career choice. It was also ascertained that these non – STEM professionals indicated a 33 per cent lower job satisfaction.
“The results of the research show us that STEM as a field of study and a career choice is one that is not only fulfilling, but it has the depth and breadth to satisfy first job seekers. However, while the results are encouraging, they highlight some deeply held misconceptions by young girls and young women with regards to the study and pursuit of STEM – they still believe it’s a man’s world in STEM and that the path is difficult. In fact, careers in STEM afford women the opportunity to positively impact the world through their leadership and creativity. To build future generations of women leaders in STEM, we must continue to inspire, engage and cultivate an interest in STEM among girls at an early age,” said Georgette Tan, Senior Vice President, Communications, Asia Pacific, Mastercard.

Key findings of the research:
India has a slightly higher participation of STEM in school among 15-19 year olds (66 per cent) compared to the regional average (60 per cent).

Main reasons for pursuing STEM studies are performance in the subjects, higher salary in future, and passion for STEM

Self-appraised interest and performance in STEM subjects are indicators of intention to study STEM in future.

STEM intenders rated themselves higher in both interest and performance in STEM subjects compared to non-STEM intenders

Indian girls who are currently studying or intending to study STEM have strong desires to work in STEM -of those aged 15-19, about 80 per cent of STEM intenders or majors are planning to work in STEM after completing their studies

They are drawn to the opportunities for career advancement and continuous learning offered by a STEM career

When considering a career path, suitability for women is rated less important than interest level and job security

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