India - Israel STEM conference
- Recently, India-Israel Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) conference was held.
- It highlighted the need for changes in the socio-cultural environment in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
- It also emphasized on the need for introducing flexible work times and gender-neutral pays to enhance women participation in STEM.
- This concept was introduced in 2001 by scientific administrators at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF).
- It is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.
- Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.
- India is one of the countries that produce the highest number of scientists and engineers, and hence contribute largely to STEM worldwide.
Highlights of the conference
- Women participation in STEM fields: About 43% of Indian women are STEM graduates but contribute only about 15 % in STEM jobs in India.
- Greater women participation in the tech sector will give a boost to their socio-economic situation in the society.
Low Participation of women in India because of:
- Patriarchal mindset in hiring practices or awarding fellowships and grants etc.
- Stereotypic mindset about some fields being only male-oriented.
- Societal norms against working and educated women.
- Restraints related to marriages, kids and family responsibilities.
- Safety issues for women while commuting to work.
- Sexual and mental harassment in workplaces.
- Gendered brain-drain in STEM
Government initiatives to increase women participation in workforce:
Vigyan Jyoti Scheme:
- By the Department of Science & Technology (DST).
- Aimed at creating a level-playing field for the meritorious girls in high school to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in their higher education.
- Also offers exposure for girl students from the rural background to help to plan their journey from school to a job of their choice in the field of science.
Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI) Scheme:
- By DST.
- It is aimed at developing a comprehensive Charter and a framework for assessing Gender Equality in STEM.
Mobility Scheme- "Knowledge Involvement Research Advancement through Nurturing" (KIRAN):
- Provides opportunities for women scientists in moving up the academic and administrative ladder.
Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017
- It extends women’s paid maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks to reduce dropouts in women postpartum.
Factories Act 1948
- An advisory notified to the state by Ministry of labour regarding women safety during commute.
- Pickup and drop facilities for women working late will help create a strong infrastructure to create an enabling environment for working women.
- Prohibition, prevention, redress — these were the three key obligations that were imposed on institutions as the guidelines defined sexual harassment at workplaces. The Supreme Court said every organisation must set up an internal complaints committee or ICC/(ICC) to look into matters of sexual harassment of women at the workplace.
Women Scientists Scheme
- Concerted efforts have been made to give women a strong foothold into the scientific profession, help them re-enter into the mainstream and provide a launch pad for further forays into the field of science and technology.
Consolidation of University Research for Innovation and Excellence in Women Universities (CURIE):
- To train and create world class women scientists in all areas of Basic Sciences & Technology who would be able to carry out cutting-edge research in their respective fields in due course.
Indo-U.S. Fellowship for Women in STEMM
- To provide opportunities to Indian Women Scientists, Engineers & Technologists to undertake international collaborative research in premier institutions in the U.S.A, to enhance their research capacities and capabilities, the Department announces “Indo-U.S. Fellowship for Women in STEMM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) jointly with Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF).