by UNDP Europe and Central Asia


Gender barriers in STEM

While job opportunities in STEM are on the rise, women still face barriers to obtaining a job and advancing in these fields due to various factors. Women are less likely to earn degrees in technology, engineering or physics. Even when women earn STEM degrees, their career choices and advances can be limited by obstacles they encounter in the workplace, including difficulties getting promoted, high-profile assignments, training opportunities, and informal networks. Although Europe and Central Asia tends to have a higher share of women in STEM fields than other regions, the number of women in leadership positions remains disproportionately small. We cannot afford to keep women, their voices and their leadership out of the STEM equation.

"I could not imagine any other profession even when I was a young girl."

Dr. Özlem Türeci, Immunotherapy Specialist, Co-Founder of BioNTech and co-developer of Covid-19 vaccine

Do you know the status of women in STEM in your country?


Share of women and men in STEM education

Share of women and men working in STEM fields

Share of women and men working in ICT fields

The World Economic Forum’s Jobs of the Future Report estimates that even though many people have lost their jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic, work opportunities requiring STEM skills will actually continue to rise, especially in cloud computing, big data, and e-commerce. People with skills in encryption, development of non-humanoid robots, and Artificial Intelligence are particularly in demand.

Women have suffered disproportionate job losses during the pandemic as the hardest hit industries are Accommodation & Food, Retail Trade, and Manufacturing which happen to have an overrepresentation of women employees. Extended school closures have meant that working mothers and caregivers face increasing demands at home, forcing many women to opt out of the workforce.


Why is this important to know?

Achieving gender equality in leadership in the tech industry alone can add between $430 - $530 billion in global productivity.  (Dalberg Advisors) We are faced with a new opportunity to prioritize reskilling and upskilling all workers to meet the demands of the post-pandemic world of work. However, the deep-seated gender bias and discrimination in these fields must be overcome, and it starts with knowledge.

Explore the barriers




Meet women in STEM who are breaking down barriers

Asel Sartbaeva, Kyrgyzstan

Asel Sartbaeva, Kyrgyzstan

Ankita Sinha, Serbia

Ankita Sinha, Serbia

Tell us your story

Are you breaking gender barriers to advance girls and women in STEM education and STEM careers?
We want to hear from you. Step up 4 STEM!