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Mains Answer Writing

11-May-2024

Q1) Elucidate the contribution of women in the fields of science & technology. How can we incentivize more women to enter the scientific fields?

(250 Word/15 Marks)

 

Various factors such as different social expectations, primary care giver role, discrimination at work place, career breaks due to pregnancy etc. have traditionally restricted women from getting their due share in the field of STEM.

Despite these constraints, women have made remarkable contribution in field of science and technology:

 

  1. Charusita Chakravarty: Charusita is known for her work on the ‘basis of molecules’ and ‘effects of change in molecular base on DNA proteins’.
  2. Usha BarwaleZehr: She is credited with production of India’s first genetically modified food, Btbrinjal.
  3. Tessy Thomas: Known as the ‘Missile lady’, she was the Project Director for the Agni-IV and Agni-V missile in DRDO and is the first Indian woman scientist to have headed a missile project.
  4. Shubha Tole: Shubha Tole is known for her contribution in the field of neuroscience. She discovered a master regulator gene which controls the development of the brain’s cortex hippocampus and amygdala. She is a recipient of Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar prize in 2010.
  5. Paramjit Khurana: She developed hybrid strains of mulberry, wheat and rice that are drought resistant, can withstand heat and have a higher UV radiation capacity thus, helping farmers who depend on climatic conditions for their crops.

Women participation in STEM can be incentivized through:

  1. Creating women friendly work environment allowing maternity and paternity leave to ensure care role is divided, work from home facility and easy integration into workforce post pregnancy.
  2. Exposure: Educators must strive to create environments in schools and colleges to expose young girls to STEM through workshops, counselling and mentorships.
  3. Policy and Pedagogy: Initiatives like Atal Innovation Mission, Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) are major initiatives in operation to attract students to study science subjects. Specific focus to attract girls is needed.
  4. International collaborations: There is a need to collaborate with agencies like UNESCO, UNICEF etc. to replicate best practices and implement international programs on women STEM participation. UNESCO’s STEM and Gender Advancement (SAGA) project is an example.
  5. Financial Support: Support in the form of fellowships and scholarships be provided to women. Special focus on women from SC, ST, OBC and minority needed through initiatives like Swarna Jayanti fellowships, PM fellowship for doctoral Research etc.

 

According to World Bank data, percentage-wise, there are more Indian female (43%) graduates in STEM at tertiary level than developed nations like the US (34%), UK (38%), Germany (27%) and France (32%). Also, the involvement of more than 100 women scientists and engineers in Chandrayaan-3 mission is a testimony to the role of Nari Shakti in reaching Shiv Shakti (touch down point of Chandrayaan-3).

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