Even in Nordic countries like Iceland that promote gender equality, very few women graduate in STEM fields. According to Global Gender Gap Index 2015, Saudi Arabia is among bottom 20 countries in terms of women in STEM fields. In the country, women only make up 39 percent of graduates, a number surprisingly higher than Iceland, where 35 percent. In Norway, 29 percent STEM graduates are women. In a recent newspaper report, it was revealed that countries that rank higher in gender equality tend to have less number of women STEM graduates than those who rank lower in gender equality.
United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization recently concluded a study in which it was revealed that even though globally 34 percent women are expected to be studying in STEM fields, only 29 percent do so. One shocking revelation of the study was that Netherlands, Austria, and Belgium have fewer STEM women graduates even though their science and math scores are really high. It can be explained by one reason, which is in countries where there is low gender equality, and low quality of life go for a career that gives them the best chance at higher financial security. In countries with high quality of life, people have more career options, which pay equally good, encouraging women to go for their passion.
In her article in Wall Street Journal, Susan Pinker said that in this age of modern feminism a country has truly achieved gender equality is when 50 percent STEM graduates are women. Culture has a significant role to play as in cultures where women are suppressed tend to go for professions that increase their status and respect in the country. Only 11 percent engineering graduates are women, to get it to 50 percent is an impossible task.