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Gender Bias In Science And Research

GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA

It is assumed that science is a gender-neutral, level-playing ground. A cursory glance at institutions and publications, however, unmistakably points to male domination in one of the most happening and sought after fields. All put together, the number of women professionals in science and research amounts to a little less than ten per cent -uninspiring statistics. Science involves the critical mental faculty but women in scientific research form a miniscule percentage of the whole lot as compared to medicine, law and finance. A lot of girls are ‘taught’ from their birth to steer clear of male-dominated areas.  Subordination of one gender to the other is stereotyped. The classic case of thrusting a specific type of responsibility on a gender, based on both physical and mental faculties of an individual, is quite evident.  Even as some sections of the society cry hoarse on offering equal chances to women in ‘all fields’, other sections of the same society are regressive, to say the least, and clearly define domination at workplaces. Society cherishes its role of a decision-maker. Studies have concluded that bias against women scientific researchers, by evaluators, is not mere hearsay. Regrettably, women in high scientific positions and women evaluators have not taken the lead to eliminate this glaring bias. The United Nations, in its quest towards sustainable development by 2030, has earmarked February 11 as ‘International Day of Women and Girls in Science’. Attempts at observing ‘days’ can turn futile if words are not translated into action. Availability, accessibility and ability should join hands with impartiality, if women involvement in science and research has to flourish.

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