- Despite facing societal and institutional challenges, women scientists have significantly enriched Indian science and technology. Discuss their notable contributions and propose strategies to enhance women’s participation in STEM domains.
Q: Despite facing societal and institutional challenges, women scientists have significantly enriched Indian science and technology. Discuss their notable contributions and propose strategies to enhance women’s participation in STEM domains. (15 Marks, 250 Words)
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Women in the workplace encounter social and institutional barriers, including caregiving roles, mobility constraints, workplace discrimination, pay disparities, and career interruptions due to pregnancy. Nonetheless, notable contributions in science and technology have been made by women:
- Charusita Chakravarty: Noted for work on molecular foundations and DNA-protein impact.
- Usha Barwale Zehr: Pioneered India’s first genetically modified food, Bt brinjal.
- Tessy Thomas: Led missile projects Agni-IV and Agni-V, earning the title ‘Missile Lady.’
- Shubha Tole: Discovered brain development master regulator gene, awarded Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar prize.
- Paramjit Khurana: Created resilient hybrid crops benefiting farmers in variable climates.
Promoting women in STEM entails:
- Supportive Work Environment: Implement maternity and paternity leave, work-from-home options, and post-pregnancy reintegration.
- Exposure in Education: Provide workshops, counseling, and mentorship to school and college girls.
- Policy and Initiatives: Employ programs like Atal Innovation Mission and INSPIRE with a special focus on attracting girls.
- Global Collaborations: Partner with UNESCO, UNICEF for international STEM initiatives such as UNESCO’s SAGA project.
- Financial Aid: Offer scholarships and fellowships, especially for marginalized groups like SC, ST, OBC, and minorities.
Data from the World Bank reveals that Indian female STEM graduates (43%) surpass those in developed countries like the US (34%), UK (38%), Germany (27%), and France (32%). This demonstrates women’s potential to overcome barriers and excel in the STEM landscape.