Career Options for Women in STEM in Pakistan:
One of the guidelines before I was to write this article read “Please do not limit to professor, engineer etc. Research how they can do a variety of jobs.”
I loved this statement! As it is spot on in representing our societal mind – set; career options for women in S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are limited in nature.
And this goes without mention the “mainstream” subjects I am referring to in Pakistan are;
- Engineering Profession
- Mathematics Teacher/ professor
- Economics Teacher
- Business Teacher
- Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physic) Teacher/ professor
- Did I mention, Engineer? (Rhetorical Question here folks!)
This is far from the case. I am talking fairy tales “once upon a time” that faaaar off.
Now, some of you readers may be thinking that the professions listed above in actuality are not reflective of the limitations in STEM in Pakistan but just are career’s women in Pakistan feel more “comfortable” participating in. The rationale behind choosing such careers is that they offer;
- Sensible working hours.
- A pleasant working environment.
- A good and sustainable salary.
- Societally respectable professions.
But before we get into that, our readers need to understand that there is a whole spectrum of jobs that fall under the umbrella of S.T.E.M
Let me mention a couple of sub – disciplines within the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
- Life Sciences
- Computer Sciences
- Environmental Sciences.
This illustrates the various career paths one can opt for when choosing a career under the banner of S.T.E.M.
Mentioned below are some of the niche professions practiced in Pakistan that could use more female workforce participation.
1. Architectural Drafters:Job description includes preparing detailed drawings of architectural designs and plans for buildings.
2. Water and wastewater resource manager:Job description includes designing and / or overseeing projects involving provision of potable water, disposal of wastewater and sewage, or prevention of flood-related damage. Work may also result in preparing environmental documentation for water resources, regulatory program compliance, data management and analysis, and field work.
3. Astronomers:Job description includes observation, research and interpretation of astronomical phenomena.
4. Atmospheric and Space Scientists:Job description includes investigation of atmospheric phenomena and interpretation of meteorological data. Weather analysts are a common profession in the field.
5. Biologist:Job description includes research on basic principles of plant and animal life.
6. Chemists:Job description includes conducting qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products.
7. Clinical Psychologists:Job description includes diagnosing and / or evaluating mental and emotional disorders of individuals through observation, interview, and psychological testing. This is in order to formulate and administer programs of treatment.
8. Dieticians and Nutritionists:Job description entails planning and / or conducting food service or nutritional programs to assist in the promotion of health and control of disease.
9. Environmental Restoration Planners:Job description entails collaborating with field and biology staff to oversee the implementation of restoration projects and to develop new products.
10. Epidemiologists:Investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, or health outcomes.
11. Risk Management specialists:Job description includes analysis and/ or management of issues related to risk by identifying, measuring, and making decisions on operational or enterprise risks for an organization.
12. School Psychologist:Job description entails investigation of the processes of learning and teaching and develop psychological principles and techniques applicable to educational problems. (This could be of great use to the education institutions in Pakistan)
13.Video Game Designers:Seemingly, not the most conventional profession for a female in Pakistan, This is a very creative and professional line of work.
Job description entails designing the core features of video games.
14. Soil and Plant Scientist:Yes, you read correctly. A soil and plant scientist this job entails research in breeding, physiology, production, yield, and management of crops and agricultural plants or trees and their growth in soils, and control of pests.
For a complete guide to sub disciplines and professions found in STEM that can be implemented by working women in Pakistan visit; http://www.onetonline.org/find/stem/?t=0
I came across some pleasantly surprising piece of information while conducting my research on this topic. Did you know that there are some professional fields in S.T.E.M that are predominantly female? Because I for one did not!
Many people believed (including me) that an overwhelming majority of S.T.E.M. jobs are dominated by men. While not all S.T.E.M. fields have an equal mix of men and women, some have a higher percentage of women than you may have assumed. Others have more women than men.
I have taken the liberty to list of the female dominated professions in S.T.E.M. They are as follows;
- Database administrators are 37percent women.
- Biological scientists are 46 percent women.
- Accountants and auditors are 60 percent women.
- Clinical laboratory technologists are 78 percent women.
- Registered nurses are 91 percent women.
Dear readers, this exemplifies the point that I have been trying to make in every article thus far; do not succumb to the status quo or mainstream “understanding” of every female or male in our society. Do not generalize people into labels, categories, or boxes of what they should be or should not be. What they should do and what they shouldn’t.
Give everyone the personal freedom of individuality to express themselves and/ or pick careers for themselves that they see fit. Whether this is the field of STEM or otherwise, it would be a shame; nay, crime even to shackle the women of Pakistan to careers “society” or “men” see best fit for them.