WOMEN SCIENTISTS & TECHNOLOGIST FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Dr. Poonam Tandon, Lucknow
I am extremely grateful to the U.P. Council of
Science & Technology and to the Department of biotechnology for sponsoring
me as a delegate to attend this conference. It is in the fitness of things that
such a conference is being organized in the year of woman empowerment. For ages
woman have been relegated as inferior beings fit only for reproduction purposes.
Even great man like Aristotle had regarded women as inferior because he believed
that they have fewer numbers of teeth. He married thrice and did not even care
once to count the teeth of his wives. All kinds of excuses have been invented to
keep women inferior. Some have been based their argument on the size of
woman’s head and some on the ratio of brain to body weight. Now with the rise
of women’s education such misogynist have been thrown out. In today’s world,
women are working along with men shoulder to shoulder and contributing as equal
partners in the development of the country. Their achievements are no inferior
to those of man. They have created test tube babies; they are flying aeroplanes
and earning recognition in all walks of life. Given the right environment women
have achieved noble prize in science.
Gone are the days when women were confined within the
four walls of their houses. There are woman prime ministers and presidents. In
our own country Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was recognized as one of the most
powerful Prime Minister of the world. International Megasay’s award winner
Mrs. Kiran Bedi has been applauded everywhere. In the field of Science and
Technology larger and larger number of women are being enrolled. Kerala,
Karnataka and Tamilnadu have largest number of women engineers, especially in
the field of computer science, electronics, electrical engineering and
biotechnology. Our secretary of the DBT is also an eminent lady scientist, Dr.
(Mrs.) Manju Sharma.
Few people know that our women make use of science
and scientific techniques in the field of agriculture. They are the ones who
work with their hands on the field. They know the importance of topsoil,
rotation and ripening of crops and sowing and thrashing seasons. In fact woman
made the discovery of wheat when man went out for hunting. It is women who
collected the seeds that were found fit for consumption and growing. Women have
been involved in other agricultural activities such as fish farming,
horticulture and floriculture. Since a large woman force is involved in
agriculture, it is essential that they should be trained in the techniques of
biotechnology and genetic engineering. These two techniques are going to
revolutionize not only agriculture but also many other scientific and
In the Indian context women have entered into all
disciplines of science & technology. In 1975 we had only 800 woman engineers
and in 1996 it reached 56,000. In U.P. even today this number is about 1000.
This is very unhappy situation. Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu are leading in
most of the areas in terms of women engineering force. In agriculture this force
had increased to 1.48 crore in 1981 and to 2.15 crore in 1991. The woman force
employed in agriculture is 97.54% and of this 84.38% is full time and 15.62 are
part time. Similarly, the number of woman Ph.D. holders in science in 1950 was
approximately 80 but this number swelled to 3312 in 1993 and today this number
is more than 6000.
university Grants Commission and the Council of Industrial Research organize an
yearly National Elegibility Test for appointment in Universities and degree
colleges. Every year more than 60% women qualify in the test. This is again an
indicator of a very significant progress made by women. In medical profession
more than 40% enrolment, in general category, is of women. In the period
1950-1993, 3.77 laks graduate were awarded degree in medicine and surgery of
which 1.5 lakhs were women.
Gone are the days when women were deprived of Vedic
studies. Today, since the days of Raja Ram Mohan Roy and, Ishwar Chandra Vidhya
Sagar laid the foundation of Women’s education, women’s status has undergone
a sea change. The women in this country have traveled a long distance.
Womanpower is being increasingly used in the development of science &
technology. In other management and technical fields also reservations are made
for women in several institutions in the field of computers, CAD and CAM,
advertisement and other emerging areas of science such as information
technology. The reservation is of the order of 30%.
Today’s women are entirely different from yesterdays. They are marching ahead in all walks of life and contributing their best for country’s development. These are barometers of our social and cultural progress. The “Ardhnareshwar Awtar” of lord Shiva is indicative of exclusive domain of man and woman. The two were supposed to be non interactive but now it has all overlapped merged and to look at the present woman from the classical/ancient viewpoint is ethically, morally and intellectually wrong. It reminds me of American saying that “we produce human being first, man and woman afterwards”. There is nothing which woman cannot achieve.