Majority of girls (68 percent) in the Asia Pacific region considered their parents as the most influential factor in pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.
This is according to the findings of an inaugural research titled "Girls in Tech" - conducted by MasterCard - which polled over 1,500 girls aged between 12 and19 across six markets in APAC.
Aside from the parents, peers (nine percent) and teachers (eight percent) also influenced girls in the region to take up STEM education.
In addition, career choice of family members also had a significant influence on the girls. The survey found that 63 percent of the respondents who are studying STEM subjects had parents and/or elder siblings in STEM-related fields.
Meanwhile, some girls do not consider studying STEM subjects in their studies because of its difficulty (40 percent) and their lack of interest (32 percent).
On top of that, close to one in five girls recognised a level of gender bias in STEM careers. Some of the girls also do not consider STEM careers because it relates to ability (32 percent) and because of the perception of gender bias (21 percent).
In terms of creativity, majority of the respondents (84 percent) believe that creativity was a personal trait or skill that they found extreme desirable to have. When asked about the traits they associate with girls in STEM, only 43 percent think girls in STEM have this quality.
In a bid to encourage girls to consider STEM careers, profiling successful women in the industry as role models (25 percent) is found to be the most helpful. This is followed by targeted scholarships (17 percent) and attractive salary (17 percent).
"Existing data tells us that girls are consistently underrepresented in the fields of science, tech, engineering and math (STEM), and MasterCard's inaugural "Girls in Tech" research aims to answer the question, 'why?' The study has shown that families play a key role in influencing and encouraging girls' interest in STEM subjects and careers," said Georgette Tan, Group Head for Communications of MasterCard in APAC.
"The pursuit of STEM offers some of the world's best opportunities to be involved in cutting edge innovation and technology, and encouraging more women in these fields is key to better economic success and equality for all women. To get more girls interested in STEM we need to promote female role models and parents must help to build the confidence of their children. We must correct the misconception that STEM careers can't be creative and help build that next generation of women leaders in STEM," she added.
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