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UPSC Exam   »   Women in STEM

Women in STEM

 

Women in STEM: Relevance

  • GS 3: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

Women in STEM: Context

  • Recently, Ministry of Science & Technology hosted the India-Israel Women in STEM conference to achieve gender parity in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

 

Women in STEM benefits

  • Greater women’s participation in the tech sector will make women stronger and more influential, giving a boost to their socio-economic situation in the society.
  • S&T could become a changemaker in society by introducing flexible work times, and gender-neutral pays to enhance women participation in STEM.
  • Increased women participation in tech fields is an investment for the country’s advancement in the future and joint conference like these could be a guiding platform in this direction.

 

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Women in STEM: Issues

  • There are areas in science which have seen remarkable progress in women participation; however, areas like Physics, Engineering and Mathematics need a course correction
  • One of the major issues regarding women’s participation in STEM fields is gendered brain-drain in STEM. UNESCO in 2019 reported this issue, which is also evident in the gender gap at higher studies in science, particularly at the doctorate and post-doctorate levels.

 

Women in STEM: Role of government

  • Government needs to play a major role in generating enablers to allow greater women’s participation like joint programmes that connect incubation centres in the two countries and setting up incubation centres just for women.

 

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Government steps to increase women in STEM

  • SERB-POWER (Promoting Opportunities for Women in Exploratory Research)
    • The Scheme is aimed to mitigate gender disparity in science and engineering research funding in various S&T programs in Indian academic institutions and research and development (R&D) laboratories, address comparatively lower participation of women scientists in research activities and to identify and support competitive women researchers in the country.
  • Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN)
    • This scheme of DST had been instituted to encourage women scientists through various programmes in the field of Science and Technology (S&T).
    • ‘Women Scientist Scheme (WOS)’ under KIRAN provides career opportunities including fellowships to unemployed women scientists and technologists, especially those who had a break in career, for pursuing research in frontier areas of science and engineering.
  • Consolidation of University Research through Innovation and Excellence in Women Universities (CURIE)
  • This programme only women Universities are being supported for development of research infrastructure and creation of state-of-the-art research laboratories to enhance women’s participation in S&T domain.
  • Indo-US Fellowship for Women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Medicine) encourages Indian women scientists and technologists to undertake international collaborative research in premier institutions in USA for duration of 3-6 months.
  • Vigyan Jyoti” Scheme encourages girl students of class 9 to 12 to pursue education and career in S&T particularly in the areas where women are under represented.
  • The SERB Women Excellence Award recognizes women Academy Awardees to expand their research horizon to higher levels.
  • In addition, Department of Biotechnology (DBT) is also implementing ‘Biotechnology Career Advancement and Re-orientation Programme (BioCARe)’ to encourage women scientists in Biotechnology research.
  • Women Entrepreneur’s Quest (WEQ) Programme was initiated by DST in partnership with Anita Borg Institute, USA for scouting and supporting Women Entrepreneurs in Technology. A total of 42 start-ups have been supported so far and 21 start-ups have grown to next level.
  • Women Start-up Program (WSP) of DST in partnership with Goldman Sachs aims to support ambitious and innovative women entrepreneurs by enabling them to transform their idea into a business venture. WSP reached out to 6200 women across the country through Massive Open Online Course program.

 

Women in STEM: Way forward

  • Government policy, support from family and work area and self-motivation could help enable women empowerment.

 

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