Celebrating rising women power in science

A lot of efforts have been made to inspire, engage women in science in the past decade: Experts

Celebrating rising women power in science

Panelists during a discussion with leading women in STEM Education. Tribune Photo

Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, February 11

Pushpa Gujral Science City celebrated International Day for Women and Girls in Science by organising a panel discussion with leading women personalities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education.

International Day for Women, Girls in Science

It also organised a two-day lecture series under Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN)’ Scheme in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. More than 100 girl students and teachers from all over the country attended the panel discussion in the afternoon and the lecture series in the morning.

About the day

  • In order to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared February 11 as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science in the year 2015
  • The theme for the year 2022 is ‘Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Water Unites Us’.

Dr Swati Basu, former scientific consultant in the office of principal scientific adviser to Government of India and former scientific secretary, GOI, was the chief guest at this occasion. Known as the “Weather Woman” of the country, she is credited with being the first Indian woman to go to the Arctic North. She said that International Day for Women and Girls in Science is celebrated to promote equal opportunities to women and girls for careers in science. She said under Atma Nirbhar Bharat, the government was linking academic institutions, R&D labs, government ministries and departments, industries, start-ups, philanthropic bodies and international organisations to give a boost to Science and Technology. She also spoke about science advisory policy which is in consonance with national and global needs. She highlighted India’s achievement in weather forecasting and said that women participation in this area needed to be increased. A lot of efforts in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science have been made over the past decade in India, she added.

Moderating the conversation, Dr Neelima Jerath, Director General, Science City said International Day of Women and Girls in Science celebrates the achievements of women scientists and innovators and reminds us to work towards creating an enabling environment for female scientists and technologists. She informed that though 43 per cent of women enrolled in STEM as undergraduate level in India, but only 14 per cent move to higher jobs in science and technology with only 3 per cent enrolling in PhD. She further informed that science and technology needs to be taken to rural women also. Hence, PGSC has set up ‘Women Technology Park’ to empower the rural women and make them ‘Atma Nirbhar’.

The panelist at the occasion were Prof Manju Bansal, Professor of Theoretical Biophysics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; Dr Tanusri Saha Dasgupta, Director, S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Kolkata and Dr Sudesh Kaur Khanduja, INSA Sr. Scientist and Professor Mathematical Sciences, IISER Mohali who shared their success stories. Prof. Manju Bansal who is a Fulbright Fellow and visiting Professor at Rutgers University, USA, shared her work on DNA structure and how she developed new computational tools for analysis and modeling nucleic acid and protein structure. She urged the need to encourage and inspire girls and women to achieve their full potential as scientific researchers and innovators.

Dr Tanusri Saha Dasgupta who is recipient of APJ Abdul Kalam Award, JC Bose Fellowship, DAE-Raja Ramanna Prize and Fellow of the World Academy of Sciences, shared how her will power and determination helped her to overcome family pressure and language barrier to pursue her research work to achieve her goals. She motivated girls and young women to train themselves in emerging technologies to make themselves part of impactful solutions.

Dr Sudesh Kaur Khanduja, recipient of Prof. Narlikar Memorial Lecture Award and Fellow of TWAS, shared challenges faced by women in the society to gain education. Dr R Grover, Director, Science City, said that women’s role in society was very important.

#women

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