Awaken Awareness: Reducing Discrimination and Increasing Gender Equity in STEM

Saiyn Kurmankulov, Asma Perveen, Mariza Tsakalerou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Women bring a wide range of competencies and viewpoints, mindsets, and ideas both at the executive and the R&D levels and consistent evidence over the past decade demonstrates the positive impact of gender diversity on innovation performance. Yet, there are significant handicaps for women's career paths in innovation, from studying STEM subjects to entering in and remaining on the workforce of so-called 'male-oriented' industries. Indeed, women are more prone to abandon a research career than men. In this context, the objective of this study was to investigate the effect of a set of factors on forming the perceptions (and thus shaping future career choices) of female STEM students of a leading university in Kazakhstan. In Kazakhstan, an impressive 52 % of researchers are women but females are distinctly underrepresented in 'male-oriented' sectors as manufacturing, construction, and oil & gas respectively. The subjects were surveyed on twelve observable variables and the collected data were used for the deployment of a Structural Equation Model (SEM), the statistical significance of which was verified via the non-parametric technique of bootstrapping. The first key outcome obtained is that the presence and support of women professionals in the academic and social environment increases awareness about the problems that female students in STEM are expected to face in their professional careers. The second outcome is that increasing awareness about gender inequality often leads females to an early exit from a STEM career. This is a novel observation that raises a spectrum of important policy issues. It appears that public awareness campaigns on issues related to gender should be coupled with palliative measures to make sure that they do not accelerate the 'leaky pipeline phenomenon' in STEM which they purportedly attempt to stop.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEDUCON 2023 - IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference, Proceedings
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
ISBN (Electronic)9798350399431
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event14th IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference, EDUCON 2023 - Salmiya, Kuwait
Duration: May 1 2023May 4 2023

Publication series

NameIEEE Global Engineering Education Conference, EDUCON
ISSN (Print)2165-9559
ISSN (Electronic)2165-9567


Conference14th IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference, EDUCON 2023


  • diversity
  • equity
  • gender awareness
  • STEM careers
  • Structural equation modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems and Management
  • Education
  • General Engineering


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