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National Conference on Technological Empowerment held on International Women’s Day


On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the National Academy of Sciences, India, organized an event on empowering women in the science and technology field

By Team ABLE

The National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI), the oldest Science Academy of the country, had organized a two-day “National conference on the technological empowerment of women” on the occasion of International Women’s Day, on March 8th at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.

It was inaugurated by Dr. Harsh Vardhan,  Minister, Science & Technology (S&T), Govt. of India. The event brought together many eminent scientists of world repute and also the support of about dozen governmental and non-governmental agencies. There were discussions on the topics like Women in Science and how technology application and commercialization has impacted women.

The main subjects that were planned to be discussed over the two-day conference are:
-- Frontiers in Science & Technology;
-- Agriculture, Nutrition and Food Security;
-- Health Care and Sanitation (Swastha and Swachh Bharat);
-- Skill development and enhancement;
-- Entrepreneurship development;
-- Employment Generation – Avenues, Opportunities and Challenges.

NASI had said that the Academy believes that women’s involvement in all developmental activities of science and technology would speed up the socio-economic progress of the country and bring a new dimension. Application of Science & Technology for reducing the drudgery of women in rural areas is equally important. To instill this and spread the message in the Indian Science and technology Society NASI has organized this national conference on “Technological Empowerment of women” in pursuit for national progress.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan expressed his great respect for women on the occasion of International women day. Woman working as scientist is a great challenge. He also expressed his happiness 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, GoI, who is coordinating this mega-event, expressed 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 programs like ‘Skill India’ and ‘Start up 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 work force face. There are three programs for women scientist from 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 has 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 were 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, Shri Amitabh Kant and several other distinguished scientists and industrialists. The concluding session will have Smt. Maneka Gandhi, Hon’ble Minister for Women and Child Development, GoI, as the Chief Guest.

It is realized that Science and Technology is integral part of the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ program 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. The Academy gratefully acknowledges 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.