Online Courses (English)
This just in:

Social Justice

Women in Research And Development

  • 21 Aug 2020
  • 10 min read

Why in News

According to the Science and Technology Indicators (STI), 2018, India’s private sector research companies appear to employ a larger proportion of women in core research and development activities than government-funded major scientific agencies do.

Key Points

  • India had 3,41,818 scientists in R&D with nearly 2,03,759 employed by government institutions or in the higher education sector, as of 2018.
  • Of the 20,351 women employed in private R&D companies, about three in four were involved in “R&D activities”.
  • However, of the 23,008 women in major scientific agencies (government), fewer than half were in the same ‘R&D activities’ category.
  • Also, for every one woman, there are six male scientists in private sector R&D establishments. However, the ratio is four for one in major scientific agencies.
  • The bulk of scientists (in private and publicly funded organisations included) were in ‘Engineering Technology’ followed by the Medical Sciences and Natural Sciences.
Science and Technology Indicators (STI)
  • The STI is a periodic compendium of the state of scientific research in India.
  • It is prepared by the National Science and Technology Management Information System, a division of the Department of Science Technology.
  • Reasons for low participation of women in R&D:
    • The recruiters and managers at private firms are held more accountable to hire as well as promote female employees, as compared to those in government offices.
    • The large drop in the number of women between the doctoral and professional stages appears to be in part due to social pressure on women to have a family which is seen as incompatible with a professional career.
    • There are also patriarchal attitudes in hiring practices, so many women are discriminated against at this stage as well, with administrators deciding that women ‘should’ be opting for family over a career.
  • Global Scenario:
    • Women in STEM:
      • UNESCO data from 2014-16 shows that only around 30% of female students select STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)-related fields in higher education.
      • Female enrolment is particularly low in information technology (3%), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5%) and engineering and allied streams (8%).
    • Research as a Profession:
      • According to a 2018 fact sheet prepared by UNESCO on women in science, only 28.8% of researchers are women.
    • Share in Nobel Prizes:
      • Between 1901 and 2019, 334 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to 616 Laureates in Physics, Chemistry and Medicine, of which just 20 have been won by women.
    • Share in Abel Prizes:
      • In 2019, the American mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck became the first woman to win the Abel Prize, following 16 male mathematicians.
      • The Abel Prize is a Norwegian prize awarded annually by the King of Norway to one or more outstanding mathematicians.
    • Share in Fields Medals:
      • The Fields Medal so far has also been awarded to only one woman mathematician, the late Maryam Mirzakhani of Iran, as opposed to 59 men since 1936.
      • The Fields Medal is awarded every four years by the International Congress of Mathematicians to recognize outstanding mathematical achievement for existing work and for the promise of future achievement.
  • National Scenario
    • Women in STEM:
      • The female enrolment in science streams rose from 2010-11 to 2015-16.
      • According to the NITI Aayog report in 2015-16, 9.3% of female students in Undergraduate (UG) courses were enrolled in engineering, compared to 15.6% across genders. Conversely, 4.3% of female students were enrolled in medical science, compared to 3.3% across genders. 
    • Research as a Profession:
      • Only 13.9% of women work as a researcher in India. At master’s and doctoral levels, female enrolment remained lower than overall enrolment.
    • Presence at Technical Professions:
      • The NITI Aayog report has also found that in over 620 institutes and universities, including IITs, NITs, ISRO, and DRDO, the presence of women was 20.0% among Scientific and Administrative Staff, 28.7% among Post-Doctoral Fellows, and 33.5% among PhD scholars.
    • Gender Gap Index
      • According to the Global Gender Gap Index 2020, a study covering 153 economies, India has slipped to the 112th spot from its 108th position in 2018.
      • The report also says it would take nearly a hundred years to close the gender gap in various fields in India compared to the time it would take in other countries.
    • Work Participation:
      • According to the World Bank, India ranks 163rd out of 181 countries in female labour force participation.
      • Also, India is one of the few countries in the world where women’s work participation rates have fallen sharply — from 29% in 2004-5 to 22% in 2011-12 and to 17% in 2017-18.
    • Inequality at Work:
      • According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), a large percentage of all the jobs lost last year were held by women. Out of the 11 million jobs lost in 2018, women accounted for 8.8 million.
      • Indian women receive 34% fewer wages than men for equivalent work, spend around five hours a day on unpaid care work compared to a mere half an hour for men and are primarily engaged in low-paying, informal sector work.
  • Initiatives to Promote Women in Science

Way Forward

  • Inequalities in gender participation in science emanate from social-economic issues, which can be treated by bringing behavioural change.
  • Also, better political representation of women can go a long way in deconstructing the stereotype of women
  • Better workforce participation can only be brought by collective effort of the society and the people in governance.
  • Growth in jobs must be inclusive and new jobs need to be secure with better work conditions, including social security benefits.

Source: TH

SMS Alerts
 

Please login or register to view note list

close

Please login or register to list article as bookmarked

close
 

Please login or register to make your note

close

Please login or register to list article as progressed

close

Please login or register to list article as bookmarked

close