The United Nations celebrates International Women’s Scientific Day on 11 February every year. The aim is to encourage women and girls to take up the field of STEM i.e. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
This time the theme is laid out by leading lady scientist in the struggle against Covid-19.
According to the Ministry of Science and Technology, approximately 20% percent of women in 2019-20 are directly involved in research and development (R&D) in the country.
Females in technology education
According to the United Nations, 43% of students in STEM are studying in India. India ranks first on the list of 17 countries in this case. Russia ranks second in this list, while America is ninth with 34%. Among 2.80 lakh scientists, engineers and technologists working in India only 14% of them are women.
Women had significant involvement in the fight against Corona. From treatment and testing, women were ahead in drug discovery and patient care. Dr. Soumya Swaminathan of the country is working as a Chief Scientist in the World Health Organization to carry out the fight against the epidemic.
According to UNESCO, there are only 33% of women researchers worldwide. The percentage of women taking admission to Bachelors or Masters under STEM is 45 and 55 percent. Approximately 70% of women are in the field of health and social work but they are given 11 percent less salary than men. Hopefully as we advance into the future we will see more women achieving greater heights in Science and Technology.
Here are some of the female scientists of India who inspire us with their achievements in the field of STEM-
- Asima Chatterjee
First Indian women to earn a doctorate in science, her research concentrated on natural products chemistry and resulted in anti-convulsive, anti-malarial, and chemotherapy drugs. She also discovered anti-epileptic activity which led to the development of an epilepsy drug called Ayush-56 and several anti-malarial drugs.
She won the C.V Ramen award, P.C Ray Award, and the S.S Bhatnagar award.
- Janaki Ammal
an Indian botanist who worked on plant breeding, cytogenetics and phytogeography. Her most notable work involved studies on sugarcane and the eggplant and co-authored the Chromosome Atlas of Cultivated Plants (1945) with C.D. Darlington. She was awarded a Padma Shri by the Indian government in 1977. The University of Michigan conferred an honorary LL.D. on her in 1956 in recognition of her contributions to botany and cytogenetics.
- Rohini Godbole
Prof. Godbole is part of the International Detector Advisory Group (IDAG) for the International Linear Collider in the European research lab, CERN. She is the Chair of the Panel for Women in Science initiative of the Indian Academy of Sciences.
She received Padma Shri for her contributions in science and technology (2019).
- Tessy Thomas
Tessy Thomas joined DRDO in 1988, where she worked on the design and development of the new generation ballistic missile, Agni. She was appointed by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam for the Agni Project. In addition, Tessy was the associate project director of the 3,000 km range Agni-III missile project. She was the project director for mission Agni IV which was successfully tested in 2011. Later, Tessy was appointed as the project director of the 5,000 km range Agni-V in 2009, which was successfully tested on 19 April 2012.
In 2018, she became the Director-General, Aeronautical Systems of DRDO
Thomas received the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for her contribution for making India self-reliant in the field of missile technology.
- Ritu Karidhal
Dr. Ritu Karidhal Srivastava is an aerospace engineer, working with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). She was a Deputy Operations Director to India’s Mars orbital mission, Mangalyaan. She has been referred to as a “Rocket Woman” of India.
Karidhal received the ISRO Young Scientist Award in 2007 from A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, then president of India
- Anna Mani
The only woman scientist to work with C.V. Raman, is well known for her work in atmospheric physics and instrumentation. She contributed to the study of radiation, ozone and atmospheric electricity, both on the surface and in the upper air using special sounding techniques. Joining the India Meteorological Department in 1948 she rose to become the Deputy Director General of Observatories in Delhi.
- Soumya Swaminathan
Soumya Swaminathan is an Indian pediatrician and clinical scientist known for her research on tuberculosis and HIV Since March 2019, Swaminathan has served as the Chief Scientist at the WHO. Previously, from October 2017 to March 2019, she was the Deputy Director General of Programmes (DDP) at the WHO. In March 2019, Swaminathan became Chief Scientist of the World Health Organization, where she participated in regular bi-weekly press briefings on the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- Sudha Murty
Sudha Murthy became the first female engineer hired at India’s largest auto manufacturer TATA Engineering and Locomotive Company (TELCO). She joined the company as a Development Engineer in Pune.
In 1996, she started Infosys Foundation & till date has been the Trustee of Infosys Foundation and a Visiting Professor at the PG Center of Bangalore University. She has written and published many books.
She won India’s fourth highest civilian award Padma Shri.