Today, 11th February, 2016, is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The United Nations (UN) notes that even though over the past 15 years there has been a lot of effort in “inspiring and engaging women and girls in science”, they still continue to be “excluded from participating fully in science”.
In a statement, the UN rightly states that the “equal participation of women and girls in the fields of science is a critical right”. In a study, Intel estimates that in 144 developing countries, the GDP stands to gain by anywhere from $ 13 to $18 billion, if 600 million women get online in just the next three years. In computing, engineering and physics, women are underrepresented — below 30 percent in most countries.
When it comes to scientific specialisation, India dominates engineering in chemistry. Good news? Yes, but where are the women? In an article in The Hindu, which quotes Sandhya Visweswariah, professor, Department of Molecular Reproduction, IISc as saying that the “representation of women at research levels is more than 50 percent” when it comes to biology, but it isn’t the same when it comes to senior positions. The same piece goes on to say that only around 40 Indian women scientists India have Wikipedia pages, but many don’t have the supporting credentials.
A paper by the Indian Academy of Sciences titled ‘Women Scientists in India’, states that “Indian women have had a presence in the sciences for well over a century”. But the attrition rate begins when it comes to doctoral courses: That the number of women who are successful in their careers in science and those who are in top positions in research and administration are negligible, regardless of the discipline. Further, “women heads of laboratories, science departments of the government, or as members of governing or advisory bodies are rare”.
Having said this, we looked into The Ladies Finger‘s archives to put together a reading list for you on women, science and kranti. Vaanthi included? See for yourself!
The Indian Girl’s Guide to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math by Deepika Sarma
Stephanie Kwolek: She Made What? by Sneha Rajaram