The Gender STEM Gap and Its Impact on Sustainable Development Goals and the Big Four Agenda in Kenya: A Synthesis of Literature

Jane Amunga, Amadalo Maurice Musasia


Women have made significant progress in education through marked increase in enrolment. However, the same zeal has not been demonstrated in STEM based subjects and careers. The gender STEM scale still tips in favour of men in many countries across the world. This imbalance in the STEM fields owing to dominance by men is what creates the STEM Gap. In this paper, we synthesize literature and secondary data to show these disparities. We appreciate that STEM gap drivers are numerous and therefore zero in on what we consider the critical STEM gap drivers with respect to Kenya. We identify and succinctly discuss these critical drivers which are: self-concept and lack of resilience, teachers’ and parental expectations, role models and stereotyping, work environment and family obligations and finally weak scholastic performance. We also assess how this gender STEM gap is likely to affect the achievement of a number of Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) and the Big Four Agenda and in the process, steer the country away from the path of industrialization envisaged in Vision 2030. We explain why it is important to mitigate the STEM gap and get more women in STEM. We recommend that, parents should deconstruct their own stereotypes; teachers should debunk the myth about STEM being the preserve of superior mental abilities that girls lack, students should acknowledge that STEM drives the economy and opens up employment opportunities, institutions should have a STEM endowment fund and industries should institute policies that enhance retention of women in STEM careers. It is expected that these if addressed should enhance women’s participation in STEM based subjects so that they can build careers in STEM.

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International Journal of Contemporary Education

ISSN 2575-3177 (Print)   ISSN 2575-3185 (Online)

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