Women in Science- A Listening Session
Photo credit: Stewart E Davis
Over the years, the number of women receiving advanced STEM education and degrees globally has increased, with countries such as Australia, Canada and India awarding nearly half of advanced degrees in science to women. However, despite these advances, women remain underrepresented in the scientific workforce globally. Rates of employment for women in science and technology vary from a low of less than 15% in Japan to highs approaching 40% in the European Union. This issue represents a significant loss of contribution to the economy of most countries and to the global intellectual potential. In particular, there is significant gender inequality in academia, with the percentage of female graduates in science far outnumbering the number of women faculty in these fields. Gender inequality in science has been a topic of discussion among regulatory bodies, government entities, and international agencies for many years. While there is growing recognition that gender inequality in science should be mitigated, there are few solutions proposed that directly affect the desire and ability of women to remain in the scientific and technical workforce. Two recent articles in Nature Jobs and Indian Express by India Alliance Fellow Dr. Farah Ishtiaq and India Alliance staff members, Dr. Shahid Jameel (CEO) and Dr. Bela Desai (Grants Adviser) highlighted some of the problems faced by women scientists in India and offered possible strategies to support and retain more women in research. Life of Science, a media platform focused on covering women scientists in India, also regularly brings to the fore challenges faced by women in science through interviews with women researchers from across the country.
In order to continue these deliberations and to better understand the landscape facing women in science in academia in India, the India Alliance and the U.S. Embassy organised a listening session on 16 November 2017 at ICGEB, New Delhi, in which both policy makers and women in academia came together to engage in constructive dialogue about opportunities for supporting the advancement of women in science nationally and internationally. Dr. Ellen Carpenter, program director at the National
Science Foundation, in the Division of Undergraduate Education and U.S. Embassy Science Fellow moderated the session. We hope this session was the first of many more such meetings that will help to define the needs and objectives of women in the science workforce in India, and will help to define strategies to maintain and expand the role of women in science. A detailed report and recommendations from this meeting will be made available online shortly. Media report- Curbing gender bias in science DailyO