Indian envoy to the United States Nirupama Rao called for greater participation of women in the fields of science and technology. Inaugurating the first Women Science Congress at the ongoing 99th Indian Science Congress at Bhubaneswar on Thursday (January 05), Rao called for redoubling efforts to make science more inclusive.
“We have to encourage participation and retention of Indian women scientists in science and technology,” said Rao. “The number of Indian women scientists is too few and we need to ask about the relative absence of women in science and are we doing enough to encourage the participation of women in science in India?”
The ongoing edition of annual meet of the best brains in India’s science and technology has ‘Science and Technology for Inclusive Innovation – Role of Women’ as its theme. The five-day meet is presided over by Geeta Bali, Vice Chancellor of Karnataka State Women’s University in Bijapur.
In his inaugural address on Tuesday (January 03), Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had called for transparency in selection procedures and stressed the importance of gender audit. He lamented lack of job opportunities to women pursuing science streams.
“We should also take note of the results of a study published last year that showed that 60 per cent of nearly 2000 Indian women Ph.Ds in science who were surveyed were unemployed. The main reason cited was lack of job opportunities,” said Dr. Singh.
The Prime Minister had also lauded the contribution of some women scientists in key areas like Agni Missile programme, which hitherto remained a male bastion. Its Project Director is a distinguished woman scientist Dr. Tessy Thomas. For the first time in 2010, three women scientists received the coveted Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Awards for Science and Technology, compared to a total of only 11 women among its recipients since 1958.