Women in Science- Indian Scenario

In India, when a girl child is born the parents feel disappointed even in this technical era. Even now parents go for sex determination centers with a hope of hearing a ‘good news’ – the birth of much awaited boy child! The reasons of this bizarre activities of parents worth a survey wherein many parents including educated and uneducated may be brought under one umbrella and can be asked same set of questions. It will not be surprising if both classes of parents come out with same answers.

Time and again the various huge claims are made that the country is progressing in a higher speed, sometimes it was claimed that the country is going to become a super power and it will rule the world. These claims make the citizens happy as most of them are ignorant about the real scenario. If a country has progressed, then its women must have progressed too. One parameter to measure the country’s progress is women education. How many women in India are literate? How many are working? What is the percentage of women representatives in decision making bodies? And how many women are choosing science to build their career?

Currently, women make up just 8% of the student strength at the 23 IITs across the country. The IITs are among India’s best institutes and regularly rank high in global surveys but are plagued by a paltry number of women students, seen as Indian’s society’s belief that men are more suited for technical jobs. The other reason could be the preference for a “trouble-free” career.

A Times of India report says that only 25% of women are in scientific faculty of various Institutions and universities, only Biological Research Institutions are exceptions. It means Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Engineering have pretty less number of women scientists!! The report further says women make up only 14% total scientists, engineers and technologists employed in R&D institutions in India. Only %% of fellowships awarded by Indian National Science Academy, Indian Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Agricultural Sciences has gone to women. Only 8% of ISRO’s scientific and technical staff make up of women.

WomenScientists_MarsOrbiterMission
Women scientists of Mars Mission.

The societal system in India is failing to promote women participation in Science and technology. A girl has to learn to compromise her comforts. Even if she manages to get Science education, she can’t pursue her career in Science due to declared social norms- marriage, child rearing, caregiver showing tolerance to all abuses. After bearing all these brunt for few years if she wants to return to pursue her career, she finds her out of date model as the professional world has marched ahead by the time she decided to return. In experimental field, if anyone wants to continue scientific research then ‘a break’ is a strict ‘no’. Taking a break from research work makes one ‘irrelevant’ after few years. She cant apply for any project as the age limit has arrived. She can’t set up her laboratory due to lack of fund and most often a married woman is actually feel trapped while balancing job and family. Scientific work needs dedication and a married woman most often fails to justice to her laboratory while satisfying her family. Perhaps these are the reasons why a girl child is not encouraged by her parents to pursue Science. Instead she is advised to study History, Psychology, Philosophy, Literature, Political Science or Home Science. Choosing Arts or Commerce or music will allow her to do a suitable job for ‘her’. Working in odd hours, travelling to attend meetings and conferences etc can be avoided if  a girl decides to become a simple teacher. Imagine how is the diktat of the society damaging the talents, confining the talents in four walls of safety, security, comfort and care giving!! Ultimately, the nation is losing.

The time has arrived for a CHANGE. Give a girl the equal opportunities a boy gets and see the difference where the country reaches! A girl’s participation in every field will enable our country to get ‘Developed’ status soon.
Think and implement. It is the need of the hour.

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