International Women’s Day: National conference on tech empowerment of women kickstarted

The national conference is being organized with a view to focus on the importance of Science & Technology interventions, emerging opportunities and inclusiveness of women in S&T endeavours

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New Delhi: The National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI), the oldest science academy of the country, on 8th March organized a “National conference on the technological empowerment of women” on the occasion of International Women’s Day, this year at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.  The event that will continue on March 9th, 2018 was inaugurated by Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister, Science and Technology (S&T), Government of India.

Dr Harsh Vardhan expressed his great respect for women on the occasion of International women day. He also expressed happiness for seeing a hall full of women scientists. He also added that “scientific environment is gender biased and it can be improved through enhanced funding and support granted to women scientists. There is less funding for women even at the higher level for women scientists. This needs to be improved.”

NASI-Distinguished Chair, Dr (Mrs) Manju Sharma, former Secretary to DBT, who is coordinating this mega-event, mentioned that ‘the number of women in the educational institutions (both in urban and rural) is increasing across all streams, the time is ripe to list what more we need when the National Ecosystem is more supportive than ever before, as the programmes like ‘Skill India’ and ‘Startup India’ are helping to provide several opportunities to women.’

Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary DBT and DST said that “Employment and empowerment of women in India has improved but we have to scale our efforts to further improve it. Only 25 percent of educated women are working in the area of science and technology. There are cultural issue and lack of Conducive work environment that women workforce face. There are three programs for women scientist from the ministry of science and technology they address the issue of relocating and break in career due to certain reason. Other program is for scientific training of women to use it for enhancing work life and providing flexible working hours to women scientists. More than thousand women scientists have been trained through this program. There is last but not the least the program that supports women in universities named Curie more than half dozen women in universities have been supported.”

The national conference is being organized with a view to focus on the importance of Science & Technology interventions, emerging opportunities and inclusiveness of women in S&T endeavours.

Several eminent speakers from India and abroad have been invited to share their experience, views and expertise on the related issues, like Prof MS Swaminathan, Prof Anil Kakodkar, Dr Karen Nelson, Prof. P. N. Tandon, Dr Jenny Graves, Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Prof Geraldine Richmond, Dr VijayRaghavan, Dr A S Kiran Kumar, Dr Nitya Rao, Mrs. Bincy Baby, Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Dr Jennifer Ann Thomson, Dr T. Mohapatra, Prof Anil Gupta, Prof Sabah Almomin, Prof Paramjit Khurana, Dr Nand Kumar Sai, Prof. Dean E Brenner, Mr Amitabh Kant and several other distinguished scientists and industrialists. The concluding session will have Mrs Maneka Gandhi, Minister for Women and Child Development, GoI, as the chief guest.

As per the organizers, since the science and technology is integral part of the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ programme in spirit and action; therefore, a systematic and pragmatic approach would be developed as an outcome of the aforesaid conference, which would be a part of the recommendations, apart from several other important issues and inferences expected to be the conclusive points.

NASI acknowledged the support of the reputed governmental and non-governmental agencies, like DST & DBT, GoI; CSIR; MoES; DRDO; ISRO; DAE; ICAR; ICMR; Wellcome Trust; MAHYCO and other Industries.

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