Policy changes must for more women in science: Nirupama Rao


BHUBANESHWAR: Making a strong pitch for "out-of-the-box" thinking, the India's Ambassador to the US, Ms Nirupama Rao today favoured policy interventions to encourage participation and retention of women in the science and technology sector.

"It is time to think out-of-the-box, think big if we have to emerge as global leader in science and harness the potential of science as an agent for transformation and development," Rao said inaugurating the first Women's Science Congress as part of the 99th Indian Science Congress underway here.
Noting that women leave science for societal balance or family compulsions, she stressed on the need to have policy interventions for plugging the loopholes and enable participation of more women in Science and Technology sector.
She made a strong plea for making a fresh beginning and launching new initiatives to encourage participation and retention of women in Science and Technology and making them equal partners in all processess of development and governance.
Voicing concern over the small number of women scientists, Ms Rao said there was a need to create mid-career opportunities for them. "The number of Indian women scientists is too few and we need to ask about the relative absence of women in science and are we doing enough to encourage the participation of women in science in India?" she said.
Ms Rao said that paucity of women in science was a global phenomenon and several countries had resorted to policy interventions to encourage the participation of the fairer sex in the Science and Technology sector.
Rao pointed out that the increase in the PhDs in science and engineering in the US was because of increase in women PhDs.
Delivering the keynote address, the Minister of State for HRD, Mr D Purandeshwari said the development of women cannot be complete without their equal participation in science.
Inaugurating the Science Congress at the KIIT campus here on Tuesday, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh had referred to a study that showed that 60 per cent of the nearly 2000 women PhDs in science who were surveyed were unemployed.
"The main reason cited was lack of job opportunities. Only a very small number cited family reasons. This underlines the need for transparency in selection procedures at institutions and also the importance of gender audits," he had said.


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