Editorials

Women in science

SYLLABUS TOPIC- GENDER, GOVERNANCE, SOCIAL JUSTICE

Indian role models

Tessy Thomas, Soumya Swaminathan, Gagandeep Kang, N Kalaiselvi, Annapurni
Subramaniam and a handful of others

DATA

1. The percentage of women researchers has increased from 13.9 in 2015 to 18.7 in 2018-
Department of Science and Technology (DST)
2.Health sciences is now pegged at 24.5 per cent, natural sciences and agriculture at 22.5
per cent and engineering and technology at 14.5 per cent.
3. According to the 2018 Global Gender Gap report, India is ranked 108 out of 149
countries
4. 2019 All India Survey on Higher Education shows a significant lag in female participation
at doctoral levels

REASONS FOR LOW PARTICIPATION

1. parents, teachers, and educational institutions take no steps to encourage girls to
pursue science. A very small percentage of girls are able to overcome this deterring
environment, develop interest in science and pursue it.
2.The number of institutions offering arts and commerce outnumber those offering science.
A majority of women’s colleges offer arts and commerce rather than science
3.Only a small percentage of women who do pursue science convert it into a career partly
owing to the pressures of marriage and family planning
4. the loneliness of being an outlier in a male domain, where biases are rampant and
getting oneself heard, a constant struggle
5. While men network and welcome other men quite easily, women do not. Women in high
positions rarely groom other women
6. skewed thinking that women are less suited for science

SOLUTION –
1. the books, the stories taught, the lessons written should me made gender neutral.
2. strengthen science education in women’s institutions.
3. Special attention should be paid to better infrastructure and teaching methods for
science in high schools.

4. The importance and benefits of team work, networking and being proactive should
form an important part of soft skill training offered for women.
5. Science including physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology should be taught for
all up to the 12th grade and beyond too, if possible. This is to ensure that everyone
keeps abreast with the developments in science and technology and reaps the
benefits for better living.
6. grants and rewiring of infrastructure for greater inclusivity by the government

STEPS TAKEN –

▪ SERB-POWER Scheme by DST – SERB-POWER (Promoting Opportunities for
Women in Exploratory Research) Scheme, which has two components of fellowship
and research grants is a scheme designed exclusively for women scientists to
mitigate gender disparity in science and engineering research in various science
and technology (S&T) programmes in Indian academic institutions and research and
development (R&D) laboratories.

Vigyan Jyoti Scheme:
◦ Launched by the DST, it aims to create a level-playing field for the meritorious
girls in high school to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and
Mathematics (STEM) in their higher education.

▪ Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions Scheme:
◦ GATI Scheme will develop a comprehensive charter and a framework for
assessing gender equality in STEM.
◦ the pragmatic focus of the Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy 2020
is on meeting its target of 30 per cent women at a post-doctoral level by
2030. To this end, DST is set to incorporate GATI, a grading system for
institutes based on the enrollment of and impetus to the careers of women in
its ranks

▪ Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing
Scheme:
◦ Started by the DST, KIRAN scheme aims to bring gender parity in the S&T
sector by inducting more women talent in the R&D domain.

▪ Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme:
◦ BBBP Scheme is the joint initiative of the Ministry of Women and Child
Development, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Human
Resource Development to ensure survival, protection, and empowerment of
the girl child

▪ National Science Day 2020:
◦ It was celebrated on 28th February 2020 with the theme ‘Women In Science’.
◦ Dr Niti Kumar, a senior scientist from the Council of Scientific and Industrial
Research-Central Drug Research Institute (CSIR-CDRI), Lucknow
received SERB Women Excellence Award-2020 on this occasion.

Author

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