A new Microsoft study uncovers why so few women around the world choose careers within science and technology, with the exception of Russia. According to the head of the Russia chapter of Tech London Advocates, Russian women’s secure position in science and technology can be partially traced back to the Soviet era.
Russian scientists at a National Research University of Electronic Technology laboratory Photo Credit: EPA
Around the globe, it seems that women are less interested in pursuing careers within the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and maths. In Russia, however, this is not the case. According to a UNESCO report, 41% of people involved in scientific research within Russia are women, compared with a mere 29% for the rest of the world. In addition, the number of women inventors in Russia are three times the amount within other western countries.
A new Microsoft study sheds some light onto this Russian phenomenon. Managing Director Julian Lambertin at KRC Research, which oversaw the Microsoft interviews, stated that Russian girls view STEM in a positive manner, while their interest in these subjects begin much earlier and last longer. “Most of the girls we talked to from other countries had a slightly playful approach to STEM, wheras in Russia, even the very youngest were extremely focused on the fact that their future employment opportunities were more likely to be rooted in STEM subjects,” Lambertin said.
According to Alina Bezuglova, head of the Russia chapter of Tech London Advocates which aids talented Russians in finding jobs within the UK, Russian women’s secure position in the science and technology fields can partially be traced back to the Soviet area, when scientific development was made a national priority. In addition to specialist research institutes’ growth, technical education was accessible to everyone and women were encouraged by the government to pursue careers within the STEM fields.