Page 19 - ScienceIndia Magazine March 2021
P. 19

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 Celebration at ISRO at the launch of the Mars Orbiter Mission in a photograph that went viral
tices traditional medicine to heal poison and Rahibai Soma Popere — the ‘seed mother’ — a farmer and conservationist with extraordinary understanding of crop diversity are the torch bearers of women empowerment and guiding light for rural folks. Their contributions have been recognized by the Government of India by decorating them with the Padma Shri.
THE OFFICIAL PUSH
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Va-
jpayee, while declaring 2001 as the year of
empowerment of women, said, ‘‘Developing
countries that have made remarkable social
progress, have done so primarily through
the empowerment of women, which has had
enormous impact in terms of literacy, health
and economic well-being of families’’. In
consonance with his thoughts, the Govern-
ment of India is taking proactive steps to
promote women in science. However, a low
representation of women in S&T planning
and policy making is a matter of concern. In order to enhance their representation, the government has constituted a Stand- ing Committee for Promoting Women in Science to take pro- active measures to identify and correct any imbalances that persist and hinder women in Science and Technology.
In the year 2014, Department of Science and Technology (DST) clubbed all women specific programmes under one umbrella known as “KIRAN” (Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing). The challenges faced by women are several but most often the ‘break in ca- reer’ arises out of motherhood and family responsibilities.
To address such issues, the DST launched Women Scientists Scheme (WOS) in 2002. It is an engaging R&D program for women who aspire to continue to do good science and to return to mainstream after a break in career due to social responsibilities. The scheme has three components: WOS-A for conducting research in Basic & Applied Sciences, WOS- B for S&T interventions for Societal Benefit and WOS-C
Women Scientists Scheme of the Dept
of S&T is an engaging R&D programme for women who aspire to return to mainstream after a break in career
that enables women to become Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) professionals. More than 6,000 women have benefited and were brought back to mainstream science through this scheme.
Another landmark programme, Mo- bility Scheme addresses relocation issue of woman scientists working in regular position in government organisations. It intends to provide an opportunity to woman scientists who are facing difficul- ties in their present job due to relocation (marriage, transfer of husband to any other
location within the country, attending ailing parents, and ac- companying children studying in a different city).
Vigyan Jyoti program, a new initiative to create a level- playing field for the meritorious girls to pursue STEM has been launched by the department. To stimulate equity and equality in participation of girls in reputed S&T institutes, focused hand-holding is provided to meritorious girl students after class X including coaching, mentorship, tinkering activities and interaction with role models. The Indo-U.S. Fellowship for Women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) is jointly given by DST with Indo-
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