Aligning ‘Nari Shakti’ to the frontiers of Science and Technology

New Delhi: Contributions of women are now well recognised by the society globally in all kinds of endeavours. It has now been proved beyond doubt that women have no less potential than their male counterparts given the equal opportunity and encouragement in any field of activity whether it is academics or sports or business etc… The current Government has made concerted efforts to empower women in all walks of life. Ministry of Science and Technology has also initiated several schemes to enrol and encourage women to take up science and technology as their career choice.

In a message Union Science & Technology Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that it is heartening to note on this International Women’s Day that our efforts during the last four and half years have yielded impressive results. “In 2014, the Department of Science and Technology took a giant step forward and brought all the women-centric schemes and programs under one ambit named KIRAN (Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing).” said Dr. Vardhan.

Outlining some of the key initiatives Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated that we have supported eight women-only Universities under the umbrella of CURIE (Consolidation of University Research for Innovation and Excellence in Women Universities) a programme towards development of research facilities and infrastructure. “To enhance skills and promote self-employment among women, we have trained around 10,000 women for skill development in various areas such as quality control, industrial microbiology, cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants, mushrooms, bamboo, fruit processing, value added agriculture, etc.”, further mentioned the Science Minister.

Expressing pleasure Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated that our work for women empowerment has also been appreciated and recognised. “The President of India Conferred Rani Lakshmibai Award (Nari Shakti Puraskar 2015) to Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), which is an autonomous institution of my ministry, for its work for women empowerment in R&D through Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) training and today more than 10% of active patent professionals in the country are from this programme.”

In his concluding remarks Dr Harsh Vardhan expressed hope and confidence that the initiatives undertaken in the recent past in the long run would result in producing future women leaders in Science and Technology.

As per the official statistics, around 14% are women out of total 2.82 lakhs R&D personnel directly engaged in R&D activities. In order to narrow down the gender gap and improve the under-representation of women in the field of Science & Technology, several programmes have been initiated in the recent past. Today an exclusive session viz. Women Science Congress is organised and is an integral part of the Indian Science Congress every year where women scientists deliberate on various issues related to women and women scientists.To recognise outstanding women scientists, awards such as Janki Ammal Women Bio-scientist Award and SERB Women Excellence Award, etc. are conferred and today women scientists are facilitated to visit prestigious foreign institutions for undertaking research and training.