In a written response to a question, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, “As per Research & Development Statistics at a Glance-2019-20 report of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), as on April 01, 2018, 16.6 per cent women are directly engaged in Research and Development (R&D) activities in establishments in the country.”
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The government was asked whether the share of women in scientific organisations and in other premier institutions of higher learning remains far less satisfactory and needs to be re-energised right from the elementary stage of school education.
Citing the All India Survey for Higher Education (AISHE) 2019-20 report, Pradhan said 51.7 per cent students in science stream at the undergraduate level are females while 48.3 per cent are males.
“Similarly, at post graduate level and PhD level as well, the representation of women in science streams is respectively 63.4 pc and 48.4 pc,” he said.
He said the Government of India has taken various steps to increase the transition rate of women in the field of science and technology from secondary stage of schooling to post-secondary stage of education.
The minister had last month shared in Parliament that the percentage of women graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at tertiary level in India is higher compared to developed nations such as the US, UK, Germany and France.
While in India the female share of graduates in STEM was 42.72 per cent in 2016, that of the United States was 33.99 per cent, Germany 27.14, United Kingdom 38.10, France 31.81 and Canada 31.43 per cent. The trend continued in 2017 and 2018 when the percentage of women in STEM in India was 43.93 and 42.73.
To a question seeking details of the number of STEM graduates over the last three years and whether there are more men than women in STEM, Pradhan had shared the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) data for past three years which revealed that while the number of men have decreased from 12.48 lakh in 2017-18 to 11.88 lakh in 2019-20, the number of women grew from 10 lakh to 10.56 lakh during the same period.