Males still dominate enrollment in STEM majors at institutions of higher education around the country, despite work by myriad groups to boost female involvement and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Why the continued gender disparity in the United States? The answer to that question might actually be found in India.
Carolyn Landel, managing director of the Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin, will be part of an upcoming flagship delegation to Pune, India later this September. The Dana Center works with the nation’s education systems to advance mathematics and science education for all students, especially those who are traditionally underserved. Landel will bring her expert knowledge of STEM education in the United States to the delegation.
Organized by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and led by Austin City Council Member Alison Alter, Landel will meet with Pune educators, policymakers, and business leaders to discuss how they’ve achieved a 50:50 gender ratio in their STEM majors.
“We know that STEM graduates are vital to the health and strength of the Texas economy,” said Landel. “Perhaps even more importantly, students who major in STEM disciplines stand to benefit from some of the most rapid rises in economic and social mobility when they enter the workforce. Exploring what measures Pune is taking to achieve gender parity in STEM majors will offer insights on how to achieve our economic and equity goals.”
In the U.S., women earn about 35 percent of the undergraduate degrees in STEM majors. Through the delegation to Pune, Landel will meet with key stakeholders to understand how they are promoting and supporting women in STEM and see the work in action in K-12 and higher education classrooms.
“Much of the fall-off for women in STEM in the United States occurs in the transitions between high school, postsecondary education, and the workforce. On this trip to Pune, I hope to see firsthand some of the ways that education and industry leaders are working collectively to inspire students to persist in STEM though college and beyond,” Landel said.
Along with Landel, the delegation will include business and industry leaders from the Austin area. As Austin’s and the state’s economies continue to be driven by the tech industry, connecting the pathway from STEM majors to the workforce will continue to be critical.