The year is 2022, and young girls today should be able to aspire to be anything they want to! Society has made progress when it comes to the equality of women, from educational choices to career opportunities. Especially in developed countries and amongst the urban and educated population, girls today are taught to reach for the stars and dream big. Despite this, there still remain widespread and engrained unconscious gender biases that prevent Indian girls from growing up to be what they want to be. Little girls, for example, are often gifted kitchen sets on their birthdays, while boys are presented with toy robots or construction sets. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why United Nations data currently shows that in India women make up only 14% of the workforce in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)— a starkly low percentage. How then, do young adults and the future generations of today feel about Indian women studying and working in STEM in the coming future?
To answer this question Cosmo India joined hands with leading skincare brand Olay to survey Cosmo’s young readers about their future career choices and perception of STEM careers. Olay is known to be a brand of science and also a brand of women and is invested in working to create awareness on gender disparity and eradicate gender biases, be it through their thought-provoking campaigns empowering women, or by funding STEM scholarships for girls across India in partnership with LEAD School. Together, Cosmo India and Olay joined forces to ask our readers a variety of questions about their career choices, from who they want to be when they grow up, to how they feel about girls studying STEM subjects, their dream jobs, and more. What we found out was promising, exciting and a wonderful insight into the way the generations of the future feel.
A whopping 91% of Cosmo Readers felt that girls are as inherently good at science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as boys. Moreover, 64% per cent said that they would like to pursue a career in and study STEM subjects. While there were a variety of dream jobs that our readers said they would like to pick, engineering, doctoral professions and IT-related jobs got their fair share of votes as well. These are encouraging insights, however, they stand in contrast with the statistic of women making up only 14% of the STEM workforce in India, showing that there is still a way to go for women and girls in STEM.
Excitingly, the future generation of today is seriously considering an education in science, technology, engineering and math. For those who wish to do so, the career possibilities are endless! You can choose to be a zoologist, microbiologist, tech wiz, computer programmer, psychologist, genetic counsellor, surgeon, a space scientist or choose from a million other exciting careers in STEM. Both Olay and Cosmo India firmly believe in shattering gender biases and stereotypes and encouraging young girls to reach for the stars, and it seems, our young leaders wholeheartedly agree.