Across the ages, women have made significant contributions to science and are now conducting ground-breaking research worldwide. But, despite their numerous accomplishments,studies have shown that women in STEMM professions do not advance as far in their careers as their male counterparts. Women's engagement in STEMM disciplines is influenced by various factors, including their educational paths and social considerations, such as starting families, workplace and family environments.
Continuous progress in Science, Technology, and Innovation(STI) is essential for global advancement and sustainability. Women will play a vital role in this effort and should be encouraged and provided the tools they need to succeed through access to education and employment opportunities and the purposeful alteration of social constructs that limit women's advancement in the workforce.This can be achieved by creating platforms that honour great women in science and starting candid, cooperative discussions on shared problems and challenges locally and internationally. In addition, young girls should be inspired and encouraged to seek professions in science and emerge as community leaders and innovators.
Over the past two decades, women's involvement in scientific research has increased in India. According to data released by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), women made up 28% of participants in 2018-2019 in extramural Research&Development (R&D) projects, an increase from 13% in 2000-2001. From 232 in 2000-2001 to 941 in 2016-2017, the proportion of female primary investigators in R&D increased by more than four times. Additionally, the proportion of female researchers rose from 13.9% in 2015 to 18.7% in 2018. However, there were fewer women in engineering and technology (14.5%) than in the natural sciences and agriculture (22.5% each) and health sciences (24.5%).
The increasedengagement of women, especially in research, is attributable to the various initiatives and programmes launched by the government. The government has initiated many fellowships and scholarships for women at all educational levels, from school through graduate, postgraduate, PhD, and Postdoctoral study. Additionally, several programmes exist to provide research grants and project funding to established women scientists and faculty members. To ensure that every woman has access to education, the government has established several universities and engineering institutes catering exclusively to women. The government also initiated numerous S&T fellowships for women torecognise the contribution and excellence of female candidates in the field of Science and Technology.