After EBAU, Career Options: Why Do Women Reject Science and Technology?

Neither maths nor physics. And about technology, let’s not even talk about it. This is the buzz that is being heard among the young girl students who are taking the exam these days. EBAU in various autonomous communities. In the discussion tables, the debate about the gender gap in Steam careers (aggregating science, technology, engineering, arts, innovation and creativity, and math for short in English) is like a pre-summer hit. Lots of success and little scope. Various investigations conducted by Yo Donna and the latest alerts from professionals says at least that. Instead of decreasing, the crack is increasing.

what’s going on? Will we ever be able to solve this mystery? Is it the quintessential that women reluctantly look to STEAM careers? The panorama that emerges from the latest X-rays of the gender gap in training, published by the Equality Unit of the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, is discouraging. “In recent years, the number of women studying mathematics, computer science or telecommunications engineering has decreased. On the other hand, in those pathways involving health and care, they represent a larger majority than men in both vocational training and university”, proceeds Yo Donna Montserrat Grres, head of equality at the Ministry of Education and Training Professionals. and lead author of the study.

those reasons

What happens from the time a girl or woman can opt for vocational training or study up to university? In his opinion, there are several reasons for this. “We didn’t end up getting a unequal distribution in practice. co-responsibility in personal and family life. The distribution of roles has not changed much and the burden of household and caregiving tasks remains mostly on them, although males in surveys state the opposite. Nor have we perpetuated the gender biases and stereotypes that lead to explicit feminization in areas such as education, health and social services.” Finally, Grays points out the lack of female contexts and mirrors in which to view oneself. You have to project your future.

His words match the figures provided by Spanish public universities. In physics studies, for example, female students represent 26.65% as compared to 73.35 percent students. In computer science, the percentages are also different: 12.74% of females compared to 87.26% of males. There are 63.74% male students and 36.26% female students in Mathematics. Nor do adolescents choose STEAM-related training programs in the same proportion as men, neither in baccalaureate nor in vocational training. Continuing this report, there is evidence of their presence in the technical branch of FP: 6% in Automation and Industrial Robotics and 10% in Computer Science.

decline of female talent

Therefore, it is not a subjective assumption. Nor can it be interpreted as an irrelevant choice on the part of the students. “The lady plays her labor future And society is its most immediate development. We are talking about strategic and decisive areas between the technological transformation of the market, our daily lives and society in general”, indicates Graece.

This is confirmed by Amaya Mendikotexia, the presidential representative of the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE) for Equality Policies: “This gap growth is extremely important. Keeping in mind that everything related to digitization and information and communication technologies is one of the sectors with the biggest job offers. We are missing out on female talent in some disciplines that will mark the future of an increasingly technological society”.

a global situation

The problem is not only for Spain. The latest analysis, published by the OECD in its 2021 edition in the report ‘Panorama of Education’, confirms that in almost all passes Women form the majority in health and wellness, but are under-represented in science, technology, mathematics and engineering.

And this is despite the strong growth of female participation in higher education. In 2017, 51% of women aged 25 to 34 had a higher degree in OECD countries, compared to 28% of men. In terms of performance and educational outcomes at different educational stages, His ability and talent is beyond questions.

From the beginning

What’s interesting is that apprehension begins in the first years of our lives. Researchers from the Universities of Houston and Washington found that from the age of six Girls are already starting to think that boys are more capable than them. This trend continues into adolescence, producing less self-confidence than boys.

The study ‘ABC of Gender Equality in Education’ (OECD, 2015) concluded that the low attendance of girls in technical careers can be partially justified by this. lack of confidence When it comes to recognizing our abilities in math and/or technology, that stems from a combination of stereotypes and societal expectations, as well as the lack of scientific contexts in which to see ourselves reflected, Grays tells us.

This is something that gets repeated once the professionals examine it. Researchers from the University of Zaragoza published a study in the journal ‘IEEE Transactions on Education’ with the opinions of 2,137 Aragonese primary school students. The main conclusion was that 75% of boys and 55% of girls considered themselves to be good at maths. As the students got older, the differences grew. They also observed that girls showed a great deal of anxiety before a math test, despite the fact that the results were similar in both sexes.

a serious mistake

Mendikoetxea, who participated in a debate forum this week on knowledge, transference and building companies with a gender perspective, stresses that society You can not do without female talent.

According to the European Union report ‘The Changing Nature of Work’, by 2030 the demand for jobs in digital technology, science and engineering sector will increase by 16%. The labor market is going to demand profiles with this knowledge and women cannot be left out. “We not only diversify, we also Another way of working, more collaborative, more empathetic and more willing to accept other perspectives. Their presence in artificial intelligence and algorithms is also essential to avoid gender bias. If a section of genius hates these subjects, the risk of falling behind in progress is too high. Closing this gap will be progressive, but we have to achieve it,” a CRUE spokeswoman insisted.

Solution

Once the diagnosis is clear, there is no time to regret. How to spark that interest to reverse the flight of female talent? “You have to build a fascinating story which gets a girl from an early age to imagine, for example, building a robot that will make life easier or developing materials that respect the environment”, proposes Greyres.

must see utility of steam and all that they can to contribute to society, for the improvement of people’s lives and the sustainability of the current way of life. It is also important to eliminate stereotypes that still persist and give visibility to their achievements.

Politics is promoting the construction of an observatory and other projects that encourage companies, institutions and other stakeholders to contribute a new approach. Take, for example, the commitment to Nias en pie de Ciencia or the Steam Alliance for Female Talent, which has involved more than a hundred members from different regions. This is the case for Macmillan Education and BQ Education, which have announced their association with BeeMaker, an educational project that seeks to prepare children for the future through technology and creativity.


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