The Women Scientists’ & Entrepreneurs Conclave, which was inaugurated as part of India International Science Festival (IISF) 2019 in Kolkata today, highlighted the importance of networking to enhance the representation of women in science and research.
Secretary of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Prof Ashutosh Sharma, in his keynote address mentioned different modes of networking and how women in the science and science based entrepreneurship spaces can benefit from them.
Referring to entrepreneurship efforts enabled by organisations like Women Entrepreneurship and Empowerment (WEE) Foundation supported by DST, Sharma said that one needs absolute clarity about problems and solutions rather than simply talking about the problems. Stressing on the need of interventions by different stakeholders to improve the participation of women in research, he highlighted DST’s schemes like Vigyan Jyoti which aims to increase the representation of women in top reputed institutions like IITs. The Vigyan Jyoti scheme has partnered with several science institutions and organises holistic science camps which impart training to get into IITs.
Secretary, Department of Scientific & Industrial Research and Director General CSIR, Dr Shekhar C. Mande, also addressed the audience.
The primary objective of this conclave is to provide a platform for young women scientists to interact with women leaders in science and technology towards RISEN India – Research, Innovation, and Science Empowering the Nation. This is an effort to acknowledge the contribution of women in catalysing sustainable growth.
In the different sessions, eminent women scientists, leaders and experts mentioned that specific cultural and financial challenges that prevent women from reaching top institutions needed targeted attention.
It was pointed out that increasing representation of women in science, technology and innovation hinges on every woman’s shoulders and each one should contribute towards it.
The conclave included attendees like Sarita Devi, a farmer from Sikar, Rajasthan, who has successfully gained about Rs 25,00,000 from 1 acre of land and is influencing other women farmers to become skilled and gain from their farmlands.
Meanwhile, Major General Dr. Madhuri Kanitkar called for ‘Growing together without growing apart’. She said that life is a continuous learning process and women have a multitude of responsibilities of managing work-life balance and caring for elderly parents. Acknowledging her problems and failures, she motivated women on ways to overcome them.
The two-day conclave consists of 6 sessions on different aspects of increasing participation of women in science, technology and innovation, such as women leaders and achievers for RISEN India; Women in STI: International Perspectives; Women Entrepreneurship towards Sustainable Development; Women In STEM: Opportunities and Challenges For New India’; Grassroots Women in Catalyzing Sustainable Growth; and Youth in Driving Sustainability.