Smriti Irani called upon the scientific community to propagate “translation of some of the best science journals and new scientific studies” for their further dissemination in schools “so that love for science can be embedded at a very early stage.”
She added that women in the scientific community of India were the “largest minority”, Union Minister for Textiles Smriti Irani Saturday said science was gender neutral but “what is not neutral is the capacity of women to get scientific opportunities.”
“Of the 2.8 lakh scientists and engineers employed in research and development institutions across the country, only 14 per cent are women. You come to a figure of around 39,000 plus which means the female scientific community in the country is the largest minority. The data shows 81 per cent women in STEM field say there is gender bias in performance evaluation. How will you be paid more when those who evaluate you have a disinclination towards your gender. Where does that disinclination begin,” said Smriti Irani while addressing the inaugural session of the Women Science Congress at the 106th Indian Science Congress.
Irani also added the problem begins right at the point when parents while raising children give different types of toys to boys and girls. “That’s where the gender bias begins. The fulcrum of Science is the desire to question and the desire to explore. How many girls in the audience were told “zyada mat bolo” (don’t ask too much) when you asked why or how,” she said.
Stating that gender parity was not responsibility of women alone but it is equally a responsibility of men as well to create a dignified system for women, Irani in the context of women participation in Science said, “these doors have been shut for long, break them if you have to and enter into a new world which looks at Science as gender neutral.”