India

India's R&D workforce has less than 15 per cent women: President Kovind

India's R&D workforce has less than 15 per cent women: President Kovind
The President was addressing scientists on the occasion of National Science Day. (Twitter/@rashtrapatibhvn)

President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday rued the lower number of women in the area of science and technology and said they comprise less than 15 per cent of the workforce in research and development.

Kovind recalled how women scientists played a critical role in the ISRO’s Mars orbiter mission, known as Mangalyaan. “Despite presence of highly-motivated women scientists, India’s R&D workforce has less than 15 per cent women compared to the global average of 30 per cent, according to our National Task Force report,” Kovind said.

The President was addressing scientists on the occasion of National Science Day. National Science Day marks the discovery of the Raman Effect by physicist C V Raman on this day in 1928. The theme for the National Science Day this year was “Women in Science”.

The President announced three key initiatives for gender advancement and equality in academic and research institutions on the occasion Vigyan Jyoti, Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions and an online portal for science and technology resources for women.

Vigyan Jyoti, he said, will create a level-playing field for meritorious girls in high school to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in higher education. The Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI) will develop a comprehensive Charter and a framework for assessing the Gender Equality in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), he said. “An online portal for science and technology resources for women will provide E-resources related to all women-specific government schemes, scholarships, fellowships, career counseling with details of subject area experts from various disciplines in science and technology,” he added.

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Science and Technology, Health and Family Welfare and Earth Sciences, said the ‘Women in Science’ theme marked a conscious paradigm shift from earlier years.

The President also handed over awards in several categories to women scientists.

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