Indian women’s prospective on gender equality: Fight or flight! - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Indian women’s prospective on gender equality: Fight or flight!

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  1. Indian women’s prospective on gender equality: Fight or flight! Kamalesh K Gulia, PhD National Brain Research Centre NH-8, Nainwal Mode, Manesar 122050 Haryana, India July 30, 2009 GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  2. In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries (globally) No access to institutions of higher learning and labs which prevented them from participation in the scientific revolution. • The exceptions in the 19th century: Mary Somerville, Agnes Pockels……. • Historical presence of Indian women intellectual in the 12th century: Lilavati  GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  3. 1114-1185 AD Lilavati:Bhaskaracharya’s daughter GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  4. Gargi, Maitrayee, the natural philosophers, Sanskrit Vedic literature. • Rusa wrote a medical text on the diseases of women. • Khana, the Bengal poetess, who learnt astronomy and composed astrological verses. • Noor Mahal invented the process of distilling the perfume (attar of roses) & the method for weaving cashmere shawl. Beginning of enlightenment via the social reform movement • Introduction of modern education in the 19thCentury. • Encouragement of literacy of women. • Jyotiba Phule who started a girls school at Pune in 1849. • Women allowed to attend classes at Madras Medical College in 1875. • Kadambini Ganguly, the first Indian lady doctor. GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  5. Journey to success 1. 2. 3. ? ? GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  6. Break in carriers: Hurdles? Unfortunately, as women who attain their Ph.D’s, many of them drop out of the pipeline ….. return to work after breaks…. In addition to adverse working conditions, there is the direct or indirect gender bias • The notion that everything else being equal, rather employ a man…….…. • Traditional mindsets: men as sole breadwinners women as being child-bearers & home-makers A mockery of the educational inputs !!! • Increasing competition in today’s world of enormous specializations… GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  7. Hurdles……continue • Women do not get scientific recognition, are rarely recommended & nominated for awards or expertships. • Low representation of such women in policy-making delay adversely affected the career prospects in Research-cum teaching… GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  8. Men who face adversity (for instance, lack of jobs, denial of promotions or rejection of their papers): More frequently get angry ! blame the system ! Women who face the same situation often: Lose confidence in their abilities as scientists ! blame themselves ! Constant bombardment with negative feedback: Low self esteem! GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  9. In Research: A large drop-outs after a certain stage !!! • This is because, perhaps, research is more demanding work compared to teaching alone. • One has to go a long way to reach higher level and hurdles do come more often at any stage of research. • Women married to a professor / research personnel, if they are performing well, they too continue in research”, you put certain condition for marriage (again to decrease the effect of social parameter). • But the society really feels that research is hell !!! So after some time (marriage / kids) or so, they drop out. • Instability “I am working in a contract research job which is due to end in September. But there is possibility of extension”. GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  10. Falling off the academic bandwagon Proving credibility every time ? • The postdoc to principal investigator transition: Women are more likely to quit 45% of the PDFs in the BMS in US, but 5-7% hold • faculty positions. • Male bastions: A study on 38 high-impact journals in BMS, India Corresponding/ senior authors- 85.7 % men, 14.3 % • women, despite the higher representation of women • in these fields (Vineeta Bal, NII, New Delhi) GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  11. Lack of power • India a large percentage of women do not have power: at home, at work… • They cannot take decisions independently not even related to their own life. • They have to take permission of male members for each and every issue. • They don't have any say in important household matters and not in matter of their own marriage. GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  12. Glass ceiling: More evident at higher level • Evidence of the `glass ceiling’ for women in terms of opportunities for academic advancement : subtle • Employment opportunities and career growth for women in national laboratories and good universities are limited. • Few women receive recognition through awards and academy fellowships. GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  13. Under-representation of womenSharper at the level of heads of departments, in scientific bodies, and in awards granted for meritorious research: 7-10 % womenprofessors in the most life science departments in country. The challenge of attracting and retaining good women scientists is even greater today when the other sectors (IT) pulling them out of science with the attractions of high salaries for less demanding work. GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  14. Exceptional and outstanding !!! Any woman scientist who has been successful has created her own support structures. • To be a good scientist and a happy human being, a woman has to have extraordinary drive !! & a dose of luck !!! • I am not sure that all men who make it in science have necessarily to have extraordinary drive !?!?! • Equality is not part of their attitude: men just find difficult to tolerate a woman in a higher position. CSIR: 42 laboratories: none has women as Director GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  15. Can rules/ quotas help: to some extent! • Successful women in science have had to work hard. • Often fighting difficult personal battles to reach senior positions. Therefore, view quotas as a measure that may undervalue their merit and the struggles they have had to wage. But yes, in the beginning to enter into the mainstream system…. GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  16. Although new opportunities in science for women were created in the 19th and the early 20th century, the only women who could fully enjoy such new circumstances were those who: • had full-time domestic help (making marriage, motherhood, and a career possible). • were not expected to be the chief breadwinner--giving them the leeway to enter a relatively low-paying field. • Marie Curie etc…..Lilavati…grown and groomed in a enriched scientific environment.. GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  17. Remedial measures !!!! • Facilitating programmes that would attract more girls/ women particularly from under-privileged classes into science, and help their retention in science career: Financial • Support systems to reduce the stress on women scientists- crutches, flexi-timings etc. • Women scientists to bring about significant change by working at the grass-root level for women empowerment: making opportunity available whenever required. GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  18. continue…. Mid-career breaks: Age relaxation in recruitment - counting only the years in which a person had worked. To be highlight and reward the challenging role models to motivate others…. Kalpana Chawla- space shuttle Columbia for a 16 day out of the world experience. The NASA chief called her a “Terrific Astronaut”. Dr Aditi Pant- the first Indian woman to participate in the cruise to the icy continent, Antarctica. A good representation of women in top scientific bodies…. GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  19. The Third World Organization for women in Science (TWOWS): 1993 First international forum to unite eminent women scientists and scientific institutions in the South: the objective of strengthening their role in the development process and promoting their representation in scientific and technological leaderships. • Department of Science and Technology: 2003 Women scientist programme GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  20. Yes, there will be all sorts of problems that we will have to face…… Break the barriers ! Strive for excellence !! Groom your passions !!! Live our dreams !!!!! Golden age !!! President of India Chairperson of the leading ruling party Head, Department of Physiology, AIIMS Founding and past Director, NBRC Fight or flight! GES-IUPS-2009, Kyoto

  21. Thank you very much!