Women In Science And Technology (Global Scenario)
(Gender Equality, Equal opportunity, Communicating Science to the Society) - Anshuman Saha
Nurturing innovation and creativity at the individual level and its applicability in socio-economic advancement to enhance the quality of life continues to be the primary goal of human civilization. Purposeful innovation being completely reliant upon critical thinking, sense of reasoning and pragmatism, imparting and instilling these disciplines amongst thevery little learners is a defining feature to propel this development. In other words, the sense of critical thinking, reasoning and pragmatism as imparted by a mother amongst her child forms the very cornerstone of civilization.
Hereby, the women in science, technology, engineering and management (STEM), have a remarkable contribution ‘to develop and nurture the little buds of purposeful innovation’, alongside their comprehensive contribution in STEM. More precisely, gender equality and equal opportunity to the ‘women in science’ is an essential measure of the development index of a nation, nay the entire human civilization. Remarkable management of household resources like water, hygiene, by the women sustains the energy levels of the entire workforce. The crucial role of the women as gardener, agriculturist and animal breeder, harvester of sea and forest resources requires comprehensive usage of traditional knowledge base and its scientific applications.
Alongside, their remarkable role as caregiver to ensure the sustainable development of each household, they have a defining roles to shape the ‘stateof the art’ science, technology, engineering and management as well.However, their multi-tasking excellence is not truly reflected in the percentage of Nobel laureates (2.54%), Fields Medal (1.66%) winner amongst them. It would require relentless effort from the entire human race to fathom this Himalayan disparity and ensure fullest utilization of the other half of the mankind.
The stricture to act as the primary care-giver of the household, essentially required some civilization-defining women role-models to inspire them.However, each of the Indian role-models like Gargi, Lilavati, Maitreyi, Khanaand the modern day icons like Marie Curie had to show unparallel courage, strength and perseverance to overcome these socio-cultural dogmas.
In India 43% of the graduates in science, technology, engineering and management are women. Excellence of women in shaping theteaching and research of basic sciences of India, as evident fromtheir presence in top twenty University(27%), scientists working at thirty eight CSIR labs (18%), and scientists Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) (15%). The Biological Science labs like NCBS, ILS, IICBare graced by their 23% women scientists.Technical education at NITs and IITs are reliant upon their women faculties (18% and 11% respectively). This scenario in top ten top ten Institutes of India (19%) is almost at par with the top ten top ten Institutes at world level (20%).
The fellowships/faculty position in STEM, awarded to women in India in last five years is about 22%.
Further improvement of this scenario is possible, through
- eradication of disparity like glass ceiling at work place,
- due crediting to women scientists/technologist for their due contribution.
Dr. Anshuman Saha is a Senior Professor at Department of Botany, Charuchandra College, Kolkata, under University of Calcutta. He completed his B. Sc. Honours in Botany in 1994 from Narasingha Dutt College, Howrah and Masters degree in 1996 from University of Calcutta in Botany. He also passed Bachelor of Education in Science from the same University in 1998. He joined Ph. D. programme in Centre of Advanced Studies, University of Calcutta and obtained Ph.D. degree titled as ‘Genotoxicity Tests of Certain Food Additives’ in 2004. He published almost 15 research articles in different International and National Journals.