Exploring Indian Views on the underrepresentation of female teenagers in STEM


  • Abhishek Mukherjee Singapore International School
  • Aamina Rahim Alum: Ambedkar University, New Delhi




underrepresentation, teenagers, female, India, STEM


Only 15% to 20% of tenured faculty at Indian universities are women, while 14% of employed researchers in STEM fields are women. To investigate reasons for this problem, the present research study was conducted to gather data for Indian respondents’ perceptions of the reasons for understanding of the women underrepresentation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields, focusing on female teenagers. The study asked respondents to rate the overall underrepresentation and the importance of different factors on a scale of 1 to 7, along with their own explanations and suggestions. The study found that the most important factor to explain the underrepresentation was Poverty, followed by Parent’s Traditional values. In contrast, the least important factors were Feminine Attributes and the idea that female teenagers wanted to avoid the male field, while Absorb Stereotypes (the idea that female teenagers subconsciously take in stereotypes of STEM being a male field), Teacher’s Discouragement and Less Confidence were given ratings closer to the middle. Additional factors suggested by respondents included females having to take care of family responsibilities and lack of role models in STEM fields. This suggests Indians have increased awareness of the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Aamina Rahim, Alum: Ambedkar University, New Delhi


References or Bibliography

Bhagat, A., & Vijayaraghavan, R. (2019, August 29). Gender disparity in STEM: Evidence from India. Gender disparity in STEM: Evidence from India - ACER Discover. https://www.acer.org/in/discover/article/gender-disparity-in-stem-evidence-from-india.

Bhattacharya, T. (2020, February 19). With Science's Gender Ratio Less Askew, More Indian Women Are Getting Recognition. https://thewire.in/the-sciences/indian-science-women-recognition.

Bhattacharya, S., & Tiwari, K. K. (2018). Educational Statistics at a Glance. ESAG-2018. Retrieved from https://www.education.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/statistics-new/ESAG-2018.pdf

Choi, S.-H., & Saas, J. (2017). (rep.). Cracking the code: Girls' and women's education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Retrieved from https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000253479/PDF/253479eng.pdf.multi

“Extrapolating Results to Other Populations.” The Use of Epidemiological Tools in Conflict-Affected Populations: Open-Access Educational Resources for Policy-Makers, 2009, http://conflict.lshtm.ac.uk/page_174.htm.

(2017). (rep.). Final Report Status of Women in Science among Select Institutions in India: Policy Implications. Retrieved from https://niti.gov.in/writereaddata/files/document_publication/Final_Report_Women_In_Science_SSESS.pdf

Harikrishnan, K. (2009, November 18). Gender: Women in Science Face Discrimination in India – Part 1. Inter Press Service. http://www.ipsnews.net/2009/11/gender-women-in-science-face-discrimination-in-india-part-1/.

Hunter, E. (2017, September 8). Poverty leaves India with huge literacy problem still to solve. Poverty leaves India with huge literacy problem still to solve. https://theirworld.org/news/poverty-leaves-india-with-huge-literacy-problem-to-solve.

Jain, S. (2020, September 11). STEM and the digital economy for women. STEM and the digital economy for women | ORF. https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/stem-and-the-digital-economy-for-women/.

Khazan, O. (2018, February 18). The More Gender Equality, the Fewer Women in Stem. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/02/the-more-gender-equality-the-fewer-women-in-stem/553592/.

Nair, N. (2010). Women's Education in India: A situational analysis. IMJ, 1(4), 100–114.

Narang, S., & Kotamraju, P. (2016, September 30). STEM in the Slums: Giving India’s Girls the Skills to Rise Up. https://deeply.thenewhumanitarian.org/womenandgirls/articles/2016/09/30/stem-in-the-slums-giving-indias-girls-the-skills-to-rise-up.

Rath, N. Mishra, S. (2017). Gender Divide in Science: Breaking the Glass Ceiling. International Journal of Research in Sociology and Anthropology, 3(1), pp 1-8. http://dx.doi.org/10.20431/2454-8677.0301001

Ring, K. (2018). Women in Tech: India Leads the Way. 451 Research - Women in Tech: India Leads the Way. https://go.451research.com/women-in-tech-india-employment-trends.html.

Rossiter, M. W. (1993). The Matthew Matilda Effect in Science. Social Studies of Science, 23(2), pp 325-341.

Roy, P. (2018). Effects of Poverty on Education in India. Journal of Emerging Technologies and Innovative Research, 5(8). https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3640322.

Sharma, K. (2020, March 12). IITs take women’s quota to 20% as govt pushes gender balance in tech education. ThePrint. Retrieved from https://theprint.in/india/education/iits-take-womens-quota-to-20-as-govt-pushes-gender-balance-in-tech-education/379395/

Sharma, M. (2016). (rep.). Women in Science and Technology: a vision document (p. 14). Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh: NASI.

Sindwani, P. (2020, February 28). India tops the world in producing female graduates in STEM but ranks 19th in employing them. https://www.businessinsider.in/careers/news/india-tops-the-world-in-producing-female-graduates-in-stem-but-ranks-19th-in-employing-them/articleshow/74117413.cms.

(2013). (rep.). Status of Secondary Education in India: A Note based on DISE 2012-13 Data . Retrieved from http://dise.in/Downloads/StatusofSecondaryEducationinIndia_2012-13.pdf

Verma, P. (2018, February 3). 31 National Institutes of Technology set to admit more women. The Economic Times. Retrieved from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/education/31-national-institutes-of-technology-set-to-admit-more-women/articleshow/62761531.cms?from=mdr

White, S. (2021, March 8). Women in tech statistics: The hard truths of an uphill battle. Women in tech statistics: The hard truth of an uphill battle | CIO. https://www.cio.com/article/3516012/women-in-tech-statistics-the-hard-truths-of-an-uphill-battle.html.

World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations. (n.d.). https://population.un.org/wpp/Download/Standard/Population/.



How to Cite

Mukherjee, A., & Rahim, A. . (2022). Exploring Indian Views on the underrepresentation of female teenagers in STEM. Journal of Student Research, 11(2). https://doi.org/10.47611/jsrhs.v11i2.2566



HS Research Articles