Girls are more interested in Science Subjects

By Mahjabeen Malik

 In the modern era of science and technology, the number of enrolled female students in higher education is gradually growing, throughout the world. In modern and developed countries, for example, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia and the Pacific, Central Asia, and North America and Western Europe the number of enrollment of both gender has become identical/equal by the end of 2018.

 A data collection reveals, the number of enrolled girls in STEM subjects is less than boys. A conventional society and some traditional families do not encourage the girls for choosing the subjects of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM). That is why no country has achieved gender parity in the field of science and technology. Merely three countries show 50% of STEM graduate female.

A large number of female physicians, in Pakistan, do not practice after marriage thus the university degrees secured by them go waste. A handsome number of the young female doctors and the students of Engineering admit that their parents ask them to choose STEM subjects for getting the opportunity of a good proposal, a matrimonial match.

The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has signified that 50% of female medical graduates never work following their studies. In our country, only 23% of registered doctors are women, whereas 70% of medical students are women.

Doctors help people; this is why lady doctors are so appreciated in the marriage market. It is one reason why a lot of parents wish their children to pursue Medicine. Dear readers, today I’m writing on this particular topic “Girls are more interested in Science subjects” on the suggestion of one of the university scholars. For this article, I have to conduct interviews with medical students and lady doctors. After readings their thoughts and knowledge about the intention of their conventional mothers, I reached back into the century of Jane Austen in a wink, flying on my imaginary wings. Mothers of this modern world of science and technology are quite similar to Mrs Bennet. She was a mother of five marriageable daughters and was worried about their suitable matches, in Jane Austen’s novel ‘’Pride and Prejudice’’.  But soon, I returned back to my own dear homeland Lahore, Pakistan from Long bourn, England where Mr. and Mrs. Bennet along with their five daughters dwelt. Dear readers, now I would like to share the story of three sisters who lived in my neighbour in Wapda Town Lahore, in 2016. First one was master in political science, the second one was the scholar of Pharmacy and the third one was the scholar of software engineering. One day, a lady visited their home to propose for the eldest girl for her son. When she saw the eldest girl, she exclaimed happily, My, What a beauty! I want such a beautiful bahu (daughter in law); but soon after, she was introduced with the second daughter who was not as beautiful as her elder sister, she abruptly changed her mind and said, ‘’I like a doctor to become my daughter in law’’. Alas! This is the picture of our so-called Muslim and eastern society. Let’s come back to our serious issue instead of laughing at the follies of scrupulous people.

Marriage is not the only hurdle in the way of a woman’s professional life. There are other hosts of problems to which a woman have to coop with on her workplace such as sexual harassment, mental torture, long duty hours, maternity leave, pay scale issue etc.

The government of Pakistan should try to alter the conventional mentality of our stereotype people through counselling. And provide a suitable atmosphere at workplaces while awarding possible facilities to the lady doctors and engineers. So that they could easily keep continuing with their jobs.

Engineering and other STEM-related professions and subjects are integrated with field work and long hours – both of which are not suitable for a female. A multinational company’s manager told in an open-ended questionnaire, our company avoids hiring female engineers because they cannot go for fieldwork and physical work and they cannot work for long hours.

 Gender inequality should have no place in online education—but we should also strive to avoid importing subtler misconceptions about “girls’ learning” being different from “boys’ learning.” We need to address the psychological sense of belonging that female students so often lack when they enter STEM environments.

The government of Pakistan should focus on online learning programme, without any biased, to facilitate girls and boys students to continue their STEM education.
48% of the population of Pakistan consists of women, out of which only 44.3% are literate. Less than 10% of engineering, science and Technology are women. There is a greater need to encourage our girls to choose science and math subjects.
There is a gender gap in STEM professions. Research suggests that it begins in childhood when children are socialized within families and with peers. The effects of this socialization are apparent in society by reporting how many females are in STEM professions, how many females enrol in STEM undergraduate programs, and how many adolescents engage in STEM-focused content. It has been stated, most girls lose interest in STEM topics between the ages of nine to twelve (Goodwin, 2013). While movements and curricula are striving to combat this reality, the mentalities and embedded socialized constructs need to be questioned and changed. However, it is also important to remember that, while there is still a gender gap, girls have been entering the STEM field at an increasing rate over the last twenty years.

Researchers have studied the socialized stereotypes placed on girls and boys at a young age. They have focused on the idea of peer groups and how the developmental stage of adolescence could influence STEM choices. Researchers have also studied how the stereotypes of STEM professions might influence or discourage females from entering the STEM field. While each of these assumptions may influence the gender gap focused in STEM professions, it is also important to note what is and can be done to continually decrease the gender gap between males and females in STEM.

To meet with the modern standard of developed world there is a need to provide individuals with a strong STEM background. For achieving those objectives it is important to focus attention on both genders.

While access to STEM content provides momentum to close the gender gap, many argue that addressing the underlying culture of socialization, peer pressure, and marginalization requisites to occur in society. The culture of marginalization will only be improved by providing continued STEM experiences. Some professional women are role models, building positivity, and fostering curiosity about the potential of STEM applications and/or careers.

The issue of non-practicing women graduates had already been discussed in various forums and public debates. The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar had highlighted the issue of non-practicing female doctors in his speech on December 29, 2018, at a medical college in Bahawalpur. The Chief Justice showed his frustration against the non-practicing female graduates in medicine as they waste government resources provided to them by the state. He advised female doctors to practice medicine in order to pay back the resources of the state.

The strategies discussed in this article are important, such as creating positive and curious environments. However, it is also important to continue to educate boys in STEM fields. As professionals and researchers recommend, it is important to remember that if the pendulum swings too much the other way, boys will be discriminated in STEM fields. Furthermore, it should be the goal of advocates and educators to close the door of the gender gap and to build a positive environment in two opposite gender.

The government should provide daycare and other mandatory facilities to lady doctors and engineers at their workplace. Because no woman wants to leave her one month baby at home. Families of female doctors and engineers should also cooperate with their ladies by providing them with a healthy and friendly atmosphere at home. All parents want to bring a doctor or engineer bride for their son, but they expect all traditional characteristics in her. For example making round bread, an expert in household chores and spend maximum time with family. We are in need of a brain counselling of the families of female doctors to overcome the shortage of physicians in our dear country, Pakistan.