Despite schemes, women scientists small in number

Despite schemes, women scientists small in number

Representative image/Pixabay

In spite of the several government programmes intended to elevate women into careers in science, their numbers continue to be low in India, scientists and government officials said.

“We have various schemes to reward and promote women scientists. Nevertheless, we are much behind global developments with regard to women in science,” said Trilochan Mahapatra, secretary, department of agriculture, research and education.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the Women’s Science Congress at the 107th Indian Science Congress. The event was intended to showcase the coming of age of women scientists across all fields, including those at the apex of their professions. 

Dr S Rajendra Prasad, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Agricultural Studies, said that the role of women in society is vital for its progress.

“According to recent surveys, the pursuit of women in science rivals that of men. In this forum, we have 25 women who can be counted as high achievers,”
he added. 

Another speaker, Dr Tessy Thomas, the Director of Aeronautical Systems at the DRDO, said the women of today have made significant studies in science and technology. Speaking broadly of the work being done by DRDO, she credited organisational scientists with having made significant advances in recent years. 

“In the medical field, a nano drug-delivery system can potentially help treat cancer. In the next 20-30 years, we could see nanorobots living in our body to keep us healthy,” she predicted.

However, Mahapatra pointed out that many breakthroughs are being done by men, as not many young women enter the realm of higher studies in science, and because women in science are often marginalised. “Though Indian culture celebrates women in religion, this has not translated to giving women their due in science,” he said.

“Women have not been given their place they deserved. This country has woken up very late and now, we have some schemes to elevate women in science,” he added.

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