Importance of gender diversity & creation of enabling environment for equal participation of women in STEMM disciplines discussed at workshop

The importance of gender diversity in science and leveraging the potential of women in STEMM fields in a systematic way for economic growth was discussed at the workshop on Gender Sensitization by the GATI (Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions) programme initiated by Department of Science and Technology in the country.

“The GATI programme aspires to create an enabling environment for equal participation of women in STEMM disciplines at all levels addressing deep-rooted problems,” said Prof. G.U. Kulkarni, President JNCASR & PI of GATI project, while inaugurating the Website of GATI project at JNCASR in the Virtual Inauguration Ceremony and first workshop on GATI Pilot Project at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bengaluru on Thursday, January 13, 2022.

“This will pilot a sustainable self-assessment and accreditation model, and the 30 participating institutions selected by DST will adopt principles of gender equity in their policy and practices,” he added.

The PI of the DST supported GATI Pilot Framework Development Project, Dr. Pratibha Jolly, emphasized that GATI involves a shift in focus from schemes for women, which have been there for several decades, towards looking at institutions as a whole. She stressed on the need for leveraging the potential of women in STEMM fields in a systematic way and leveraging it in terms of economic growth.

Prof. Rohini Godbole, Honorary Professor, Centre for High Energy Physics, IISc, Bangalore, the other guest speaker for the event, highlighted that achieving equity is not to be looked upon as an activity for women and by women. She suggested measures like avoiding bias in hiring, having adaptive tenure policies, implementing progressive promotion policies, ensuring equitable representation of women in committees as ways of ensuring equity and inclusion in science.

The event was held to create an awareness among its researchers about this ongoing project and thereby make them aware about the aims and objectives of this project and also bring about a broad understanding among the researchers on the current situation of gender inequality, particularly in the areas of STEMM.

It saw the participation from all sections of employees and students of JNCASR, as each section of people have a role in this project. They shared their feedback and ideas about how to bring about the required change during their tenure at JNCASR.

GATI is a pilot project funded by the WISE KIRAN Division of Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, aimed to create an enabling environment for equal participation and opportunities for women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine, and Mathematics (STEMM) disciplines at all levels in each of its participating institutions, addressing deep-rooted challenges. JNCASR is one of the 30 participating institutions in this pilot project. The Centre is collaborating with the WISE-KIRAN division of DST, British Council, India and the Queen Mary University of London, the Athena SWAN institution from UK. The project works in the framework of self-assessment process as per the framework laid by the DST GATI team. JNCASR will be assisted by its UK partner institution in its self-assessment process as the institution from UK has already accredited with UK’s Athena SWAN accreditation, thereby sharing their experience for the institutions in India to move towards the direction of getting the accreditation.