Women in STEM driving sustainability

Women play a key role in developing innovations to push for sustainability, but barriers remain to their entry into STEM careers. To celebrate International Day of Women & Girls in Science, EB Impact speaks to three women in science on making an impact and pursuing careers in STEM.

A just-transition to protect our planet is hinged on innovation, with more countries dedicating resources to build Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) capabilities in their workforce. Women have made strides in STEM with more entering the field than ever before. While they can be powerful agents of change in a gender-just transition to a greener economy, women are still underutilised and underrepresented in STEM careers.

STEM sustainability careers are more likely to be filled by men with women forming just one quarter of the global STEM workforce. A survey conducted by non-profit United Women Singapore (UWS) and Ipsos found that only 41 per cent of female students in Singapore planned to pursue a STEM-related career, compared to 69 per cent of male students.

Some of the challenges cited by women include a confidence gap and a lack of exposure to role models, according to UWS research. Girls cite that they receive less encouragement to pursue STEM subjects compared to boys. A lack of confidence means they rate themselves lower in traits associated with STEM—deterring yet more women from entering the field. 

Mentorship is important. “It is crucial to expose girls early to successful women in the STEM field. With over 70 per cent of young girls showing keen interest in meeting role models in STEM industries, showcasing women mentors in STEM jobs will inspire and guide the next generation to consider STEM careers,” said Georgette Tan, president of UWS.

Stakeholder buy-in is also key to addressing the gender imbalance and ensuring that STEM jobs are accessibe to all. The Singapore Green Plan 2030, is looking to advance the city-state’s agenda on sustainable development and is expected to create 55,000 new and upgraded jobs, providing youth with numerous opportunities in STEM careers, such as jobs in sustainable infrastructure, renewable energy and environmental engineering.

Addressing gender disparity in the STEM workforce will not only add more diversity, but more women in these roles would help to ensure that products and solutions are relevant to other half the world’s population too. 

To celebrate International Day of Women & Girls in Science 2022, we spoke to three inspiring women in science: Professor Madhavi Srinivasan, Nur Estya bte Rahman and Chin Yen Yen.

They shared that gender does not define how well one excels in the field of STEM; how they hope to inspire the younger generation to pursue an interest in STEM and advice on how to take action towards sustainability issues.

Find out more about these inspiring women who are working towards a more sustainable future:

Click here to watch the full video on all three profiles.

The campaign to shed light on women in science is part of a broader collaboration between UWS,  which advances women’s empowerment and gender equality, and EB Impact, the non-profit arm of Eco-Business, that delivers programmes designed to generate positive impact for sustainable development. 

Special thanks to The American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore for making this meaningful initiative possible.

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