There is a need to open up dialogue and have African education policy makers acknowledge the gender disparity in STEMI (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation) and how it can be resolved by a shift in the mindset and afford girls a better chance to succeed in STEMI subjects and careers. Subject and career choice should be based on ability and desired career as opposed to gender. The Education SUpport Forum (TEDSF) and MathsGee seeks to encourage girls who havechosen STEMI subjects to persevere and not drop the subjects but strive forexcellence.
There is an acute under-representation of girls and women in STEMI subjects and careers as a result of ill-informed subject decisions and unfavourable conditions for girls to persist in the sciences in the senior high school phase.
According to the Anita Borg Institute Report, women earn 18% of computer science degrees in the European Union, 23% in India, and below 10% in Japan and South Africa despite the great strides towards women empowerment that have been undertaken.
A report bythe U.S. Department of Commerce, “Women in STEMI: A Gender Gap to innovation,”says women remain under-represented in STEMI jobs and among STEMI degreeholders. The L’Oreal Foundation website states that fewer than 30% of physicists, engineers and computer scientists are women. Only 12% of science decision-making positions in universities and the private sector are held by women. “This is an equity issue,” said Dr Sophia Huyer, lead researcher and executive director of Women in Global Science & Technology (WIGSAT). “Women are not having access to professional and income opportunities. In addition, we are missing out on the enormous potential that women represent because they are not participating in how the science and technology sectors are being designed and how they will affect the life of a country.”