Equal opportunities for daughters will help fill gender gap in science: INSA President

Gomatak Times
Saturday, 28 December 2019
 "Daughters are highly competent and should be allowed to work." - Chandrima Saha, president elect, Indian National Science Academy
PANAJI: Equal treatment of daughters at home and providing them with the same opportunities as given to sons will help in increasing the numbers of women scientists in India, president elect Indian National Science Academy (INSA), Chandrima Saha told GT here.
"The problem of fewer women scientists can't be resolved by popularisation of science alone. It is a social phenomena. The society has to change. Parents have to treat their daughters as sons, give them the same opportunities and tell them they can do everything that the sons can do," said Saha, who will take over as the first woman president of this premiere scientific society on January 1, 2020.
Apart from lesser women entering field of science, she is also concerned about not many women scientists returning to the fold after a career break.
"We have programmes to bring back the women to science. But this is an issue one can't avoid. Girl students even in premiere scientific institutes are allowed to pursue their career only on the condition that they would have to quit after marriage," she said.
According to the president elect of INSA, she would like to interact with parents and get the message delivered to them that their daughters a talented and competent and should be allowed to work.
A former director of National Institute of Immunology, Delhi, Saha has also also set her eyes on poor immunity amongst women and children.
"Maternal and child health is an issue in India. Government has initiated numerous steps to deal with the situation. We still have a long way to go. We can educate the mothers, especially the family on vaccines," Saha said.
According to her, sometimes they don't even know that they can get assistance from the local community health centre.
She also felt that government has to do more to incentivise entry into science to attract more talent in science research.
"China gave its scientists rockstar status to bring them back. This is not happening here. I think the government needs to incentivise science," she said.
On her immediate plans after taking over as the academy's head, Saha said: "We will strengthen present efforts in science popularisation at school-level. We will conduct more interactive sessions in regional languages."

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