Prelims level : International Institutions – Summits, Working, Organisations Mains level : GS-II Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their Structure, Mandate.
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Why in News?

  • The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is recently celebrated on 11th February every year.


  • The International Day of Women and Girls is designated by UN General Assembly in 2015.
  • It is implemented by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) and UN-Women, in collaboration with institutions and civil society partners.
  • It is to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.

Global Scenario:

  • Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics): The data from UNESCO of 2014-16 shows that only around 30% of female students select STEM, related fields in higher education.Their enrolment is particularly low in information technology (3%), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5%) and engineering and allied streams (8%).
  • According to fact sheet prepared by UNESCO, only 28.8% of researchers are women.
  • From 1901 to 2019, 334 Nobel Prizes have been awarded, of which just 20 have been won by women.
  • The American mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck became the first woman to win the Abel Prize in 2019. It is a Norwegian prize awarded annually by the King of Norway to one or more outstanding mathematicians.
  • It is so far has also been awarded to only one-woman Mathematician, the late Maryam Mirzakhani of Iran, as opposed to 59 men since 1936. 
  • It is awarded every four years by the International Congress of Mathematicians to recognize outstanding mathematical achievement for existing work and for the promise of future achievement.

National Scenarios:

  • Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics): The female enrolment in science streams rose from 2010-11 to 2015-16.According to the NITI Aayog report in 2015-16, 9.3% of female students in Undergraduate (UG) courses were enrolled in engineering, compared to 15.6% across genders. Conversely, 4.3% of female students were enrolled in medical science, compared to 3.3% across genders.
  • In India, there are only 9% of women who work as a Researcher. At master’s and doctoral levels, female enrolment remained lower than overall enrolment.
  • The NITI Aayog report has found that in over 620 institutes and universities, including IITs, NITs, ISRO, and DRDO, the presence of women was 20.0% among Scientific and Administrative Staff, 28.7% among Post-Doctoral Fellows, and 33.5% among PhD scholars.

Way Forward:

  • Interventions geared to popularising subjects such as Engineering or the Physical sciences or Chemistry among female students at the school level in both urban and rural areas might be helpful in changing mind-set.
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