Gujarat Global News Network, Bhubaneshwar
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh lauded the role of Indian women in the field of science, but lamented the fact that they were not getting employment opportunities. In this context he said that there is need for transparency in selection procedures at institutions and also the great importance of gender audits.
Inaugurating the 99th session of Indian Science Congress he said that in India too women are making a mark in traditionally male bastions and decisively breaking the glass ceiling. The Project Director of the Agni Missile programme is a distinguished woman scientist Dr. Tessy Thomas. Last year, for the first time, three women scientists received the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award, as compared to a total of only 11 women awardees for all the years since 1958 up to then.
But, we should also take note of the results of a study published last year that showed that 60% of nearly 2000 Indian women Ph.Ds in science who were surveyed were unemployed. The main reason cited was lack of job opportunities. Only a very small number cited family reasons. There is need for transparency in selection procedures at institutions and also the great importance of gender audits.
The Prime Minister commended the Department of Science and Technology for introducing the "Women Scientists Scheme" which has helped more than 2000 women scientists resume careers after breaks arising from family commitments.
The Department of Science and Technology is also formulating another scheme called 'DISHA' which will help women scientists to relocate to other cities, he said. The Department will create 1000 contractual positions tenable in publicly funded institutions for this purpose. A fellowship matching the total emoluments of an in-service Science and Technology professional will be provided when she moves from one station to another.
He congratulated Professor Geetha Bali for choosing, as the theme for the Indian Science Congress, the role of Science and Technology for Inclusive Innovation with special reference to the role of women.
It was a hundred years ago that Madame Marie Curie, one of the most outstanding scientists of the 20th century, won her first Nobel Prize. To honour her achievements, last year was declared as the International Year of Chemistry.
Marie Curie blazed a trail for women in the world of science. But her work also exemplified her belief that science should, in the end, contribute to tangible social good. She helped to set up X-ray stations during the First World War and established the Curie Foundation which became a major force for the treatment of the dreaded disease of cancer.
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