Pakistani Women In STEM!

The Gender Gap in STEM Fields

Pakistan faces one of the largest gender gaps in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields globally. Despite women making up almost half of the population, their participation in these fields remains low. Factors like low literacy rates among women, especially in science and technology, contribute to this gap. According to a 2020 report by the World Economic Forum, Pakistan ranks third lowest in gender parity.

Facts and Figures

Statistics highlight the gender disparity in education and research. While women make up 47% of bachelor’s degree students, their numbers drop significantly at higher academic levels and in research roles. Only 36% of doctoral students and 34% of researchers are women. In specific fields, such as engineering and agricultural sciences, women’s participation is even lower, with only 21% and 12% respectively.

Challenges in Engineering

The engineering sector in Pakistan shows stark gender inequality. Women hold only 4.9% of engineering jobs, and in the power transmission sector, the figure drops to 3%. The field of artificial intelligence is slightly better but still sees only 22% women engineers. These low numbers reflect broader societal and educational barriers that women face in entering and progressing in engineering careers.

Bridging the Gender Gap

Efforts to close the gender gap in STEM include government initiatives and private organizations. Since 2018, the Pakistani government has focused on improving wage equality and educational opportunities for women. Laws against workplace harassment have been strengthened to encourage more women to join the workforce. Additionally, organizations like Women in Tech and Women Engineers Pakistan work to inspire and support women in STEM fields.

Notable Women in STEM

Several Pakistani women have made significant contributions to STEM. Nergis Mavalvala, a physicist, is known for her work in gravitational waves and became the first female dean of the School of Science at MIT. Tasneem Zehra Husain is a prominent theoretical physicist working on string theory. Other notable figures include Asma Zaheer, a computer scientist recognized by IBM, and Azra Quraishi, a botanist who significantly increased potato yields in Pakistan. These women serve as role models, demonstrating that despite challenges, Pakistani women can achieve great success in STEM.

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