Responding to the invitation by the Embassy of the United States of America, Dronacharya Group of Institutions, Greater Noida, nominated fourteen of its Faculty to attend “U.S. – India Workshop on Best Practices for Women in Science” held at Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on 10th December 2012. The workshop was organized by U.S. Embassy, New Delhi, in partnership with the Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt. of India and the Indo – U.S. Science and Technology Forum.
The Faculty who had the privilege of attending the workshop were :
Dr. Vijay Rani Sood Dr. Mamta Tomar Dr. Mona Bhargava
Dr. Shilpi Saxena Ms. Himani Bansal Ms. Bhawana Gupta
Ms. Prerna Singh Ms. Shivani Arora Dr. Jaya Shrivastava
The workshop was inaugurated by Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Dr. Kerri Ann Jones, and T. Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology.
Addressing a gathering of women scientists who participated in the workshop, US Ambassador to India, Nancy J Powell observed that the need of the hour was to make female students study many fields of science. She said that she was happy to share that in the past three workshops on women in science had made a real difference. Citing examples she said the United States and India had prioritized “Women in Science” as an area for bilateral engagement at the U.S.-India Joint Commission Meeting on Science & Technology in June, and the U.S.- India Strategic Dialogue in June 2012.
She observed that the world’s difficult challenges can be solved. But this will only happen when our best people — whatever background, whatever gender – work together with all their energy and talents focused on the key issues. We need to equip all our scientists and innovators with the best education and the best training that is available. As Secretary Clinton said, “Solving these problems, even managing them, takes all of our efforts. I am convinced we cannot succeed if humanity is working at half its strength.” President Obama has concurred, saying, “We will not sow the seeds for a brighter future or reap the benefits of the change we need without the full and active participation of women around the world.”
A study by the U.S. Department of Commerce reveals that in the U.S. the percentage of females working in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) lags far behind than that of the overall female-to-male workplace ratio. There are many possible factors contributing to the discrepancy of women and men in STEM jobs, including: lack of female role models, gender stereotyping, and less family-friendly flexibility in the STEM fields. Regardless of the causes, the findings of this report provide evidence of a need to encourage and support women in STEM.
Dr.Vinita Sharma, Advisor and Head, Science for Equity, Empowerment and Development Division, Department of Science and Technology discussed an ongoing scheme “DISHA” for women scientists and technologists in India who have breaks in their career due to social responsibilities and are interested to return to the field of science and work.
Various government initiatives for empowering women in science were shared at the workshop. The workshop deliberations were helpful in understanding issues and challenges, and in assessing the need for creating opportunities for women in science.
The Faculty members were full of praise for the institution for having given them the golden opportunity to be a part of such a learning platform.
“When you improve the environment for women, everyone benefits.”
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