The gap in digital access and underrepresentation in STEM education is one of the key reasons for women’s successful participation in tech, design, and governance

STEM education diversity challenges

CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Ms. Thendral Rajendran, Vice President & Regional Head – Movate. Explore the significance of addressing STEM education diversity challenges to enhance women’s participation in tech, design, and governance.

What does a gender-responsive approach to innovation, technology and digital education mean?

As this is one of the key themes for International Women’s Day 2023, it is crucial to address the growing inequalities in the context of digital skills and access to technologies. When it comes to digital adoption, women have lower levels of access to and use of digital technology than men. If we look at some of the niche and relevant skills in the market currently, women are still under-represented, especially in fields such as computing, engineering, mathematics, and physics, finds a UNESCO report. The report also shows that women comprise only 22% of artificial intelligence workers globally. And these statistics show that equal representation and equal head-start in all technologies and concepts is the need of the hour for today’s women!

What are the skills that women should equip themselves with to pursue a career in technology?

Women who want to pursue an active career in technology should explore their potential in programming skills and their flair for programming. Every organization is currently investing in AI and Data Sciences and building knowledge and skills in such concepts will enable them to navigate successfully in their organization and career.

What are some programs that organisations offer to bring women to the forefront of innovation?

The gap in digital access and underrepresentation in STEM education is the key to women’s successful participation in tech design and governance. Organizations can build a Community of Practice by bringing together experts working on specific projects, skills, or technology to help women learn and better equip themselves. Additionally, recognition initiatives, advocating for female colleagues, and involving them in new projects will help women play an active role.

At Movate, we recently partnered with NASSCOM Foundation to train many deserving young individuals, predominantly women and specially abled, on emerging technologies. Upskilling and arming women with digital skills and technology training can empower them to become more digitally proficient and help them pursue meaningful careers.

How are organisations assisting women with re-integration into the workforce?

Women workforce in STEM continues to see a dip, especially at mid-management levels, where it takes a toll on them with their personal situation or work dynamics prompting them to quit. When women plan to re-start their careers, many organizations are currently supportive and creating specific talent attraction strategies.

At Movate, we have launched the “ReStart with Movate” initiative designed to help women restart a promising career after a break. We plan to continue to run similar practices throughout the year.

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