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Gender Scan in India: A Survey on Gender Equity in STEM Education and the Workforce

Learn about the current state of women in STEM in India from this survey issued to students and employees, including topics such as remote work, gender balance policies and the STEM education pipeline.
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Since 2021, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) participated in the Gender Scan survey, an international survey on students and employees in STEM. Led by the organization Global Contact in partnership with almost 200 international organizations, the survey has historically included tens of thousands of respondents from around the world. However, despite interest in the results from SWE members in India, responses from India to the 2021-2022 survey were low.

In response to the interest expressed by members, SWE partnered with Global Contact to conduct a survey focused on India. The survey was issued to students and employees in India to understand the current state of women in STEM, assessing both the experiences with and impact of gender balance policies affecting the STEM education pipeline and the workforce.

The survey focused on topics such as remote work, work-life balance, sexism, education and training in STEM. The survey included all genders to allow comparison between men and women in STEM education and the workplace.

Student Results

“I was told that engineering isn’t a job I will be able to pursue in the long run, as family and work are hard to manage.”

Fewer than 150 students participated in the Gender Scan survey in India. This low response rate limits the generalizability of the results. However, there were a few interesting findings:

  • Students in India indicated that the top influences on their choice to study STEM were family members (47%), events/activities (44%) and school teachers (42%).
  • Compared to survey responses received from other developing countries, fewer women in India reported being discouraged from pursuing scientific or technical fields (37% vs. 65%). Of those discouraged from these pursuits, 60% of responses in India stated that friends were the source.
  • Women in India mention that the level of stress (72%), the struggle to find internships (66%) and the gap between expectations and what they are currently studying (66%) are the most important problems they face in their studies.
  • 51% of women respondents stated that they would most like to see more practical work and industry-relevant knowledge in their training.

Employee Results

“Management should discuss with women what they want to do in their career rather than assume they will quit after marriage or pregnancy.”

Almost 250 employees participated in the Gender Scan survey in India. While the lower-than-expected response rate limits the generalizability of the results, a few interesting findings were noted:

  • More men (88%) than women (62%) believe that men support equality between men and women in their company.
  • More men (74%) than women (45%) believe that the department in their company in charge of gender equality is effective. Many women surveyed believe that the department needs more resources to become more effective.
  • Twice the proportion of men than women reported using flexible working arrangements offered by their companies, including working part-time and working remotely.
  • Compared to responses received from other developing countries that participate in Gender Scan, almost three times the proportion of Indian respondents seek stronger gender balance policies in their workplace.

Visit the SWE Research site to read the reports generated from the Gender Scan in India surveys and the global surveys from 2021-2022.