Why in News?
Since the revision of GDP calculation methodology in 2015, there’s been a debate about how India calculates its GDP & about GDP as a measure itself.
Syllabus—GS1: Issues related to Women Empowerment
- On National Science Day 2020, which was dedicated to women scientists, Women & Child Development Ministry announced that 11 women scientists would be honoured with national chairs named after historical women scientists.
- Recently IIT Bombay too has announced its own women-only chair after donor alum on the pretext that a diverse & inclusive workforce build a better workforce.
- While these announcements are well-intentioned moves to address the long-standing & vexed problem of gender disparity in science & technology but their efficacy in addressing the root cause is well debated.
- India faces a inconvertible gender disparity mainly in the STEM institutes.
- Though women constitute nearly 50% of science PhDs employed in Indian higher education but data from the physics, engineering & industrial workforce show a large gender gap that widens further at the higher echelons.
- Even in celebrated IIT Bombay, in the domain of engineering & science out of total 680 faculty & 60 prestigious chairs, only 14% of the faculty & 9% of the chairs are respectively women.
- Disparity popularly explains as the discriminatory familial responsibilities weigh women down.
- Many studies in the gender disparity have given many concrete facts to counter the gender disparity rules such as:
- Studies that measured productivity across gender, finds no deficit among women scientists in Indian institutions.
- Further, the studies also found that despite similar scientific productivity, women scientists tended to occupy lower rungs of the institutional hierarchy.
- For instance, a drop in the selected women-fraction compared to that of the pool is a hallmark of the discrimination in the process.
Systemic genderisation plays out in multiple ways.
- It is still often assumed that women are the primary caregivers, therefore irrespective of merit they are liable to compromise their professional responsibilities.
- While hiring a woman scientists to a leadership position, it is still considered to judge her parental or life-partner status, overlooking her merit.
- It is still a common hidden norm that women spouses of hired faculty will not be hired.
- Over the above, the presence of rampant Gender-based harassment.
- For instances, involving social scientist in recommending JEE fee-wavier for women has become a good step among other reforms.
- But not involving social scientists in decision making to increase gender diversity among JEE rankers, ended up not addressing the elephant in the room.
- Addressing disparity should be everybody’s responsibility.
- The notion that it is the exclusive responsibility of women to hire more women, mentor young women etc has to be ended & everyone has to take responsibility in this regard.
Way Forward: –
- It is high time for all to impelled to make this their cause rather than leave it to the voluntary groups.
- The way forward is to dissolve the systematic barriers to equity in the institutions of higher learning. The pathways to do that are as follow:
- Make diversity an imperative not just because it builds better businesses but because it is the right & just thing to do.
- Acknowledge that gender discrimination reigns within, so stop the women-only training workshops to fix the women & instead gender-sensitize all faculty & management.
- Because all regardless of gender are raised to accept sexist thought & action.
- Also, invest in diversity experts to be observers in all human resource domain.
- Involve social scientists, so that interventions are grounded in evidence.
In the modern times, with Hyper-globalization, everyone has exposed to global debates on systemic gender discriminations. Gender disparity is an outcome of a flawed meritocracy & is everybody’s responsibility, not just that of women chairs to fix.Discuss.