Shambhavi NaikJanuary 23, 2020 4:11:37 PM IST
Research institutions around the world have an average of 28.4 percent of employed women. Indian research institutions have not been able to make even this poor point of reference. Women represent only 14 percent of the scientists, engineers and technologists of 2.8 lakh in research and development institutions in India. In recent decades, while the number of women enrolled in higher education in science has steadily increased, the The number of women entering the scientific workplace has not shown a proportional increase. This suggests that women are not willing to continue in science jobs or are not given adequate opportunities to do so.
Pros of gender balance in scientific campuses.
There is a school of thought that women bring a clearly different perspective to science than men. Studies have shown that various groups to have more collective intelligence than groups of trained men only. The implication is that gender-balanced teams are likely to be more productive and “smarter” compared to exclusively male teams. Therefore, it makes sense that we would like more laboratories to try to reach an equal proportion of men: women.
But an even more surprising demand for women in science is in research and in matters that belong directly to women. For example, the first home pregnancy test was designed by Margaret Crane in 1967. After a visit to a laboratory that tested the pregnancy, he assembled the pregnancy kit at home. Crane, who had originally been hired by the laboratory to work in its line of cosmetics, is a clear example of how women are more likely to understand women’s problems. The need for privacy and the ability to try something as changing as a pregnancy, in the luxury of the house, is evident to women. The need to include women in research related to women and products whose main consumers will be women does not need to be explained.
Greater inclusion of women in workplaces can affect economic productivity. For example, companies that have women in positions of corporate leadership show Better performance of the company. In addition, if both spouses work, the household is likely to hire outside help, creating more job opportunities. This is particularly true in the case of new mothers returning to work, who may need babysitting or childcare. Therefore, the inclusion of women in the workforce can create more jobs and contribute to economic growth.
Finally, women in research can act as role models for younger girls. Pew Research working document in 2015 He showed that in the United States, adult daughters of working mothers earned 23 percent more than those whose mothers had not worked during their daughters’ childhood. In addition, the simple presence of more women in the workplace will reduce the barriers for women from more conservative communities to enter science.
Reasons why the presence of Indian women in science is low
Given the broad social, group and individual benefits of having more female colleagues, one must ask why the gender balance in Indian science is so poor. One reason is that the social fabric of India is such that the opportunity cost for a woman to work in science is high. In general, research is not considered as a 9 to 5 job, with demands made at work after these routine hours, on weekends and expected trips for conferences / collaborations. On the other hand, Indian women are expected to be more than salaried. They have to be a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother and also be an employee.
Motherhood and childcare is an important reason why women have to leave or at least take a break from work. But on top of that, the expectations of home management, caring for the elderly and maintaining social relationships also lie with women. At Diwali, he is expected to make sweets / snacks, draw rangoli and light wicker lamps in addition to everything the family does. For this woman to go to work because she of the ongoing experiments is a great question. And even if it does, it can rarely escape the social pressure that will accompany the abandonment of socially determined duties.
Even for those revolutionaries who decide to commit to science, the road is difficult. Many scholarships and awards are restricted by age limits. A woman who has had to take time to have one or two children would find it very difficult to remain competitive to win these scholarships. For example, many academic campuses prefer to hire professors below the age of 35. This age limit reduces opportunities for women, who have taken breaks, especially when competing with men.
Finally, investigation It has shown that women have less international mobility and less collaboration than men, which hinders their scientific progress. A number of factors can contribute to these commitments, but one cannot ignore the social expectations that women in Indian society have in this phenomenon. It is not an easy option for a woman to leave a family for three to six months and go to work in another country.
How can we do better?
First, consideration recognizes the opportunity cost of women to enter the workplace. In addition to payment, other benefits would also help women to remain at work. For example, in addition to the maternity break, providing access to childcare services or paying a certain number of visits to the doctor for the mother / baby would reduce the barriers for women to return to work. Particularly for working mothers, the impact of paternity leave granted to their partners should be studied. It is likely that having the baby’s father at home for a long time can help the mother get back to work faster. Reducing family management to a woman’s problem does not help keep women working. Balancing work and family life is not a question that only women should answer, but it is up to the family unit to solve it.
Young Indian women also need to see strong successful precedents to inspire them. They don’t need to be CEOs of billions of companies (which are amazing, but young girls may feel they are unattainable), but they could be ladies next door who successfully run a home business. He could be a science teacher who has studied abroad but has chosen to return to his village to teach. The Indian media also need to exemplify these unconditional ones: they can help girls shape their aspirations and take small steps to achieve them.
India as a society needs more women in the workplace and definitely needs more women on our research campuses. But to take them there, we must understand why they choose to abandon science and create a welcoming ecosystem to help them continue to contribute to Indian science.
The author is a researcher in the Takshashila Technology and Policy program.
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