Today, let’s talk about Dr. Pallavi Deshmukh from Covestro Elaborates on her STEM Approach. This is an exclusive interview with Pallavi.
Dr. Pallavi Deshmukh from Covestro Elaborates on her STEM Approach
Dr. Pallavi Deshmukh is an insightful, self-driven and motivated techno commercial professional who specialises in delivering technical solutions through strong application development, customer interaction and technical support. She completed her PhD from the Institute of Chemical Technology in Physical Chemistry and then began working in Covestro India Private Limited in the application technology department mainly taking care of adhesives, printing and packaging and technical product management.
STEM is an approach to learning and development that integrates the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Being a woman in the STEM field, your thoughts on the impact of technology on gender equality and women’s empowerment.
As a woman in the STEM field, I believe that technology has played a pivotal role in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. Initially, it was a challenge to convince girls and their parents to pursue a career in STEM. However, with the advent of technology, audio-visual aids and the internet the perception of the field has changed. Technology has made it easier for girls to comprehend the subject matter, automating certain processes and reducing physical labour.
Moreover, the internet has made it easier to stay up-to-date with recent advancements, research papers and patents. This, in turn, has helped create a level playing field for all genders, bridging the gap between men and women in terms of knowledge and opportunities. The internet has also helped foster a sense of community among women in STEM, providing a platform for networking, sharing knowledge and collaborating.
Today, we see an increasing number of women holding leadership positions in various fields of STEM. Technology has given women the confidence to break through the glass ceiling and pursue their dreams. Furthermore, it has enabled women to balance their personal and professional lives better. With the help of the internet, women can work from home and prioritize their time, making it easier to juggle work and family responsibilities.
However, there is still a lot of work to be done to achieve gender equality in STEM. We need to encourage young girls to pursue STEM careers and provide them with more hands-on experience, internships, workshops and mentors. It is crucial to empower women and create an inclusive work environment, where women feel valued and supported.
In conclusion, technology has been a game-changer for women in STEM, creating a more level playing field, promoting gender equality and empowering women to break the glass ceiling. We need to continue to harness the power of technology to create a more inclusive and diverse work environment in STEM, enabling women to reach their full potential.
Clearly India has a wide gender gap in STEM fields. How can we, at least, diminish it?
India, like many other countries, struggles with a significant gender gap in the STEM sector. While it is true that women face several challenges, such as family priorities maintaining work-life balance, the onus is on us as a society to provide a supportive and inclusive environment. It is imperative that we break down the cultural norms that discourage women from entering STEM fields and encourage more women to pursue STEM education and careers. Parents, educators and employers must actively promote and support women in STEM by providing mentorship, training and networking opportunities. Additionally, companies must ensure that the workplace is safe, hygienic and accessible for women. By working together and creating a culture of inclusion and support, we can reduce the gender gap in STEM and tap into the vast reservoir of untapped talent that women represent. We need to focus on the strengths and abilities of women, rather than their perceived limitations and create an ecosystem that empowers women to achieve their full potential. Ultimately, diversity in STEM will lead to better innovation, stronger businesses and a more prosperous society.
At your level, what are your initiatives? And how many women have been benefitted?
As a firm believer in the power of science and engineering to shape the world for the better, I am proud to say that globally Covestro has been spearheading a leading CSR project called STEM4Girls. This initiative aims to inspire and encourage young girls across India to pursue STEM-related careers, one girl at a time. Through hands-on science experiments and motivational talks, we are working toward uprooting the social conditioning that girls are not meant to take up science careers.
Despite the critical role of women in advancing society through science and engineering, only a meagre 14.3% of women in India pursue careers in science, as revealed by a December 2016 factsheet by the UNESCO Institute of Statistics. Globally, the statistics are equally disappointing with only 1 in 4 women opting for STEM careers. This unfortunate reality highlights the pressing need to encourage and support women to break free from societal constraints and pursue science-related careers.
To address the above challenges, STEM4Girls is our proactive initiative aimed at shattering the socio-cultural barriers and promoting gender inclusivity in the STEM fields. 4200 girls across multiple cities in India in 2019 have benefitted from this initiative making a meaningful impact on the lives of many young girls. The sparkle in their eyes and the bright smiles on their faces are testament to the impact of our efforts.
But it’s not just about corporate initiatives. As individuals, we can all do our part to support and encourage women in STEM. For example, whenever I get a chance, I try to help those who are struggling with science or math. Recently, a girl in my residential building was struggling with chemistry, so I offered to help her understand the subject better. I’m currently working on finding videos and study patterns that will help her develop an interest in the subject, because I know how important it is to nurture that interest earlier on. By providing guidance and support to those who are interested, we can all play a role in promoting gender diversity and inclusivity in STEM fields.
Ultimately, the key to encouraging more women to pursue STEM careers lies in providing them with hands-on experience, exposure, and mentorship. By breaking down barriers and supporting women at every step of the way, we can help create a brighter future for all.