Abhivyakti Foundation

Research & Studies

Critical Analysis of Women in Science and Technology with Special Focus on Minority.

The world cannot afford the loss of the talents of half of people if we are to solve the many problems which beset us,” said the eminent American scientist and Nobel Laureate Rosalyn Yalow. Obviously, she was referring to the women who form half, if not the better half the population of the world. Science and technology have been an integral part of Indian civilization and culture. At a glance, women in general might look like one of the many housewives — simple, Docile, unassuming and humble. But for behind this simple straight face are a razor sharp brain, and an eerie ability to execute, to convert thought into action without much ado. Over the years, in India women have overcome the traditional mindsets and have excelled in professions like teaching, medicine and pure sciences.

Women have made important contributions in all walks of life and made inroads into new fields like engineering and information technology.But the fact remains unchanged that women choose to enrol in greater proportions in arts, human studies and social sciences than they do in mathematics, science and technology, the world over. The origin of this under representation of women has been largely structural, created in and through the social structures of institutions and the segmentation of the labour market, and internalised in values and beliefs about appropriate roles and expectations. These factors are manifested in a host of barriers to women's participation, both general and specific to the technological domain. Over the years though the improvement has been taking place but the pace is slow and gradual. The current study focuses on what, how, why factors related to women both from general and minority background entry in S&T environment.


  • To assess the level of participation of women both general and minority in science and technology.
  • To explore the role the women in advancing science and technology.
  • To understand how science and technology has impacted the women.
  • To find out the barriers which affected the role of women in science and technology or hurdles which, affected the participation of women in science and technology.
  • Every group has a leader and a secretary to note important problems what we will ask for help from nonprofits organization or NGOs.
  • To compare the women and S &T with relation to the women status in terms of category.-general and minority.


The locale of the study is Delhi. The sample of the study consisted of 150 woman scientists working in eight organizations namely DST, DBT, MAMC, JNU, IARI, NBPGR, CSIR and TERI of Delhi .Out of these 150 woman scientists, 31 falls in the category of minority, which is 20.6% of the total sample size. However considering the lower representation of minority category women, the general women provided their opinion about minority. Therefore we could able to achieve the perspective of minority women.

Keeping in mind the nature of the problem, In-depth Interviews and observation method were used. Beside this, emailing of questionnaire was also done. Random sampling method was used in selection of interviewee. The selection of the scientists also depended on their availability and devotion of time.

Women & Education

  • The need and importance of girl child is recognized and accepted by almost all the respondents of the study.
  • Regarding the girl’s education in specific to presence in science education, it has been resulted that girls decides about the science in planned manner according to the 69% respondents while only 8% think that it is unplanned among the general community. 50% respondents expressed that motivation play important role in deciding about the science. In case of minority community, motivation is important factor for deciding about the science education as 44% respondents thinks motivation works more than planning of either of parents or girl child. Regarding the motivation, self, parents and teachers play an important role in both general and minority community.
  • While collecting the information on reason of selecting the science as a career, it was found that motivation of parents, social prestige and high income is common motivational factors in both the general and minority community. According to the both community, media has no specific role to play.
  • In case of reasons of not selecting the science as a career, it was found that SCIENCE is considered as TOUGH subject according to the both community which demotivate them for not selecting science. While community influence in case of minority community and lack of opportunities and poor conditions are major hurdles.

Participation of Women

  • With regard to participation of women workforce at the scientific post level in the sampled eight scientific organizations, NBPGR, DBT and MAMC has highest rate i.e. 40.50%, 43.13% and 33.33%. This reflects that over the years the participation of women in S&T is in increasing mode but still underrepresented in the decision making role.

Women Contribution in S&T

  • The results of the study showed that women community had access to opportunities for innovation, new experiment, decision making, playing the leading role and participating in seminar and workshops without having any gender biasness.
  • Regarding the hurdles in accessing these opportunities, discrimination, male dominance and lack of women friendly policy were the major factors identified.
  • The contribution of women scientist is considered in form of publishing papers, innovations and experiments. The results show that they are active and participate in publishing paper then experiments and finally innovations. The quality of papers in terms of its impact was not analyzed in the study due to non-availability of papers.
  • The least contribution is in policy making as they are underrepresented in policy making related posts and popularizing S&T due to manifold responsibilities at home and workplace. In addition, they do not possess leading role in the institutions though there are opportunities of decision making and playing the leading roles.
  • It has found that there are innovations and experiments done by the women scientists but the data are missing regarding the number of experiments and innovations who has directly impacted the women masses. However, there are few examples like solar cooker and solar lamps are there which has directly impacted the life of women community.

Women Empowerment and S&T

  • The study assessed the women empowerment issue in terms of prestige of women within family and society, enhancement of income and self-esteem. According to the 76% respondents from the general community and 46% respondents from the minority community there is increase in social prestige. Such results show that society has started to realize and recognize the presence and their contributions in the society.
  • The records on such recognition in the form of visible recognition like awards when studied then the results are not impressive.
  • Regarding the prestige within family, 72% respondents of general community and 42% from minority community confirmed that there is increase prestige within family.
  • It has been revealed by the 51% respondents that their income level is increased but in case of minority it is further low. It was only 35% respondents who confirmed that there is increase in income.
  • Finally, the results were better. In case of self-esteem issue. 70% respondents from the general community think that self-esteem has been enhanced among women scientist while the 53% responses of in case of minority community confirmed such facts.


The barriers or hurdles which objects women scientist to perform their roles and responsibilities as a scientists are categorized in four major categories i.e. Family, Society, Working Organizations and Govt. policies and programmes. These findings are briefed in following manner:


  • Male dominance and discrimination are expressed as major barrier in promoting women as scientist as well as performing their role in S&T field, both at the working organization and society level.
  • Regarding the major supporters of the women scientists at the family is family as whole, husband and in- laws. In case of general community, family as a whole and husband are major supporters while in-laws and husband give their support in case of minority community.

  • Society

  • The results of the study indicated that there is gradual change in society attitude and behavior in recognizing the women as a scientist, especially among the general community. According to 49% respondents, women are recognized as scientist and 41% respondents think not. In case of minority community, it is 39% and 31% respectively. On other hand, the woman scientist is not considered as women scientists. According to the results, the role of women, mother, and daughter are their first role than the role of earning members in the family. Lastly, the role of scientist has been recognized by the society.
  • It was found that discrimination is important factor in case of both the general and minority community. Such discrimination further increased when the women do not get the women non friendly society. The issue related to lack of opportunities does not have any significant role.

  • Working Organizations

  • Despite of accepting the girl child education as an important one and acknowledging the contributions of women scientists (expressed by limited respondents), gender biasness still exists in the workplace.
  • It was found that male dominance and discrimination are among major hurdles in the working organization. It has been observed by both the general and minority community.
  • The issue of lacking women friendly policy is also pointed by the respondents. In this regard, the respondents pointed out existence of Child care center, CCL and flexible working hours.
  • However, few respondents indicated about the existence of women non-friendly environment in scientific institutions. In this regard, the attitude and behavior of male community was expressed while interviewing the women scientists.

  • Govt. Policies & Programmes

    In general, there were mixed responses on acknowledgment about the importance of government role in promotion of S&T. The specific findings are as follows:

  • The promotion of S&T among girls and women by government is in the form of opening of women colleges, scholarships, and gender sensitive policy. Among all scholarship to girls and women is appreciated and highly expected.
  • For the gender sensitive policy, there were mixed response. It was found that govt. policies are not gender sensitive according to the 36% respondents out of 60% responses of respondents of the study. It has been indicated that policies and programmes are open for both sexes but govt. does not consider practical problems of the women scientists.
  • The policies and programmes are not known to the large sections of the society. It seems that planned efforts have been not taken to make it popular. It seems that male recipients are more than female recipients of the programmes meant for scientists.
  • While assessing the level of awareness of various govt. schemes among the women scientists, it was noted that they have comparatively low awareness among them. It was found that web site is one and core mechanism of making publicity of the govt. programmes and schemes. However, the DST has taken very recent initiatives to make publicity through colleges and university, as informed by one of senior scientist during the interview.

  • Recommendations

    The recommendations of the study are categorized in two major sections i.e. general and specific. The specific recommendations are according to the issues envisaged and identified during course of the study. The details are given below:


  • It is strongly recommended that sensitization is required both at individual, family and society level. Such sensitization should be focused on need and importance of S&T, myths and misconception about the science subject like SCIENCE IS TOUGH, and gendering the S& T field.
  • We would suggest there should be specific mechanisms and opportunities of sharing the knowledge, problems, and experiences both at inter and intra level by involving both women and men.
  • It is required to organize the series of activities focusing on women and their related issues than limiting to organizing or celebrating specific days like WOMEN DAY in scientific institutions.
  • There is need to organize the regular and constant programmes and activities on promotion of S&T among women community and society.
  • During the whole process of assessment through primary and secondary sources, the need of intensive and detailed study required at the national level as the information on related social, cultural, psychological, and working issues of women scientists are varied and lacking regular constant flow of similar information.
  • The information available on the status and position of Indian women scientists, in the respective work spheres is not adequate. More research of empirical nature along with gender de-segregated data is essential.

  • Girl Child & Science

  • It is required to develop environment which facilitate girl child in understanding science and developing flair about the science. In this regard child choice is considered as the priority to select streams of education.
  • Exposing girls to successful female role models in mathematics and science is another way to reduce negative stereotypes thereby improves girls’ performance and interest in mathematics and science.
  • There is a need to raise the number of women S&T teachers, who play a significant role in enhancing girls’ interest in scientific subjects.
  • The teaching methodology the way in which they are taught can play an important role in promoting interest in science in both girls and boys.
  • Distance education with laboratory provisions can help the women in pursuing the science related subjects even after marriage or during child bearing stage.
  • Scholarships on merit to be provided to girls and women for pursuing science and technology related subjects.
  • The girls are required to expose to scientific world right from the schools to university level. In this regard, updated data are required to maintain on regular basis.

  • Participation of Family & Society

  • As far as concern of women scientists, they are required to be seen as Woman without fixing her in preview of gender, caste & community. Moreover, they should not be assessed based on her pre-assumed psychological and physical capacity. In this regard, everybody right from individual, family, working institutions, govt. and to society level should be sensitized.
  • There is need to develop the conducive environment at the family level where all the family members play supporting role than demanding role and expectations from the family.
  • It is recommended that govt., media and educational institutions need to play an important role in sensitizing the family and society and further motivating the women to be part of science and technology.
  • The updated data is required to maintain about the innovation and experiment done by the women scientists in particular.

  • Govt. Policies and Programmes

  • The govt.is required to re-visit the issues related to CCL, Care of Children of employed women scientists, and Working Hours for women scientists and promotional initiatives.
  • Benefits should be seen as an opportunity then deprivation, segregation or reservations.
  • The govt. should have pro- women recruitment policies. In this regard, the all decision makers, especially male scientists group should have mindsets of following and executing pro-women recruitment policy. Merit should be the only criterion of selection in any field.
  • Governments need to provide an appropriate policy environment which helps women to balance family and professional responsibilities:
  • Promoting the science & technology among women should have the mandate of all scientific institutions than limited institutions like DST.
  • Major attitudinal and institutional changes in the structure and procedures of Indian science, are probably required. In recent years, however, the Government of India (the department of Science & Technology and UGC) is giving enormous attention to the importance of women’s education and is making serious attempts at imparting high level skills to women. Special scholarships and awards have been instituted to attract students in general and women in particular to the science and technology stream but yet more needs to be done.