1. Plugging the leaky pipeline – by Vaishnavi Ananthanarayanan
  2. Women in Science – by Shruti Muralidhar
  3. Policy Memo: How can we improve the prospects of India’s women in STEM – by Vaishnavi Ananthanarayanan and Shruti Muralidhar

Other links:

  1. Unintended consequences of gender-equality plans
  2. Project Implicit by Harvard University
  3. Perceptions of stereotypes applied to women who publicly communicate their STEM work


  1. Gender roles and their impact in Academia – EMBO/HHMI presentation
  2. Why is it (still) difficult being a woman in science ? – Talk by Dr. Shobhana Narasimhan
  3. Living Histories series – Talk by Vaishnavi Ananthanarayanan

Our work featured elsewhere:

  1. Male-only programmes at four in 10 Indian scientific conferences
  2. BiasWatchIndia in Trends in Genetics
  3. Women make up 13 per cent of scientists, science faculty: Survey – Telegraph India
  4. Calling out gender bias in STEM – Rukhmabai Initiatives
  5. Scientific breakthroughs, systemic barriers – Deccan Herald
  6. One-third of Indian STEM conferences have no women
  7. Less than 1 in 5 STEM faculty members in India are women, study by initiative on gender bias finds
  8. Only 13.5% of India’s STEM faculty are women, finds study. Worst in institutes like IITs, IISc


TitleReleased byYear
Evaluating and Enhancing Women’s Participation in Scientific and Technological Research: The Indian Initiatives
(Report of National Task Force for Women in Science)
Ministry of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Technology (DST)2010
Trained Scientific Women Power: How much are we losing and why?Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS) – National Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS)2010
Women Scientists in IndiaThe Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia (AASSA)2015
Status of Women in Science among select institutions in India: Policy ImplicationsSociety for Socio-Economic Studies and Services (SSESS)
Study sponsored by NITI Aayog
Women in STEMM – Indo-Australian-UK Joint reportA joint venture between the
Australian Academy of Science
and the Indian National Science
Academy (INSA) with support from the
Australian Department of Industry,
Innovation & Science, the Indian
Ministry of Science & Technology
and the United Kingdom Science
& Innovation Network
Funding and awards for women in science in IndiaSpoorthi – IndiaBioScience

Current Status of Report recommendations:

IASc-NIAS research report (2010)

1.Provisions for on-campus childcare, housing, elder care, professionalized domestic help at universities, research organizations and autonomous organizationsNot universally available
2. Gender-neutral flexibility in timingsNot mandated, applied by specific institutions/ departments
3.Opportunities for networking and collaborations via Increased number of travel grants and organizing workshops and conferences to facilitate collaborations targeted at womenNo specific initiatives taken
4.Official mentoring of junior women academics by senior colleaguesNo specific initiatives taken
5. Policy on transparency in selection and evaluation procedures to motivate more women candidates to applyNone (to our knowledge), unless an RTI is filed.
6. Policy on time-bound target recruiting system to make up for inadequate representation of womenNone, to our knowledge
7.Increase in recruitment of women to premier institutionsInadequate (as evinced by our independent survey)
8.Mandatory disclosure of gender breakup of faculty and students across departments and levelsNot available for most institutes/universities (as evinced by our independent survey)
9.Mandatory composition of one-third women members in committees Not practised (as evinced by our experience with BiasWatchIndia)
10.Introduction of long-term schemes for re-entryDo not exist. Short-term schemes like INSPIRE, Ramanujan and Ramalingaswami fellowships still only have 5-year fixed term
11.Increase in job opportunities This exists, but not sure when this was constituted
12.Creation of specific infrastructure through venture capitalNot done (to the best of our knowledge)
13.Policy on employment of spouses in the same organizationNot practised except in a handful of institutes
14.Periodic review of all the recommendationsTo the best of our knowledge, there hasn’t been any review since the 2010 recommendations

The National Taskforce for Women in Science (2010)

1.Introduce time-bound recruitment target systemPut in place rules and guidelines for time-bound recruitment target system for increasing the proportion of women scientists recruited in institutions per yearSet for different institutions with differing proportions of women employees, achievable targets which will improve gender ratioMake it mandatory for the institutions to mention the steps taken in pursuant of the target in the annual report and on the websiteMake it mandatory for the institutions to prepare and submit recruitment enhancement plan to the Standing Committee for Women in ScienceHas not been implemented, to the best of our knowledge
2.Women representation in search/hiring committeesEnsure at least one qualified competent woman to be member of these committeesMake task force activity proactive to identify competent women scientists to sit in above committeeEnsure that if there is no appropriate women expert available in the department in question, a woman scientist from an outside department/institution is co-opted onto the search committeeNot mandated 
3.Addressing proactively the unwritten, irrational barriers on employment of spousesMake it mandatory that all job advertisements issued by various departments of the Government of India, universities funded by the UGC and government-funded organizations contain the following sentences: “This institution/university is an equal opportunity employer, and women are encouraged to apply. This institution/university does not have any rules that prevent spouses from being employed in the same department/institution.”Not mandated.
4.Women-friendly proceedings of search/selection/hiring committeesEnforce a directive regarding code of ethics to be followed while asking questions to women candidates in search/selection/hiring committees to be enforcedFramework not made.
5.Priority to women candidates in part-time jobs, jobs with flexible working hours and those workable from homeMake it mandatory that all part-time jobs when available should be first offered to women desiring the sameEnsure that women candidates are given preference and training for jobs which are amenable to flexibility of working hours and/or working from home.No priority given in any of the recent calls for employment (at least in scicomm)
6.Targeted research programmes for women scientistsInitiate targeted research programs for enhancing opportunities for highly qualified women scientistsIn view of present contractual, non-pensionable nature of these fellowships, make fellowships extendable up to 10-15 years following a review processMake it mandatory for other departments to start such schemesEncourage scientific departments to carry a review of these rules and find some legal remedy in the form of an MOU with the women scientists for allowing them to continue beyond 5 yearsNo such amendments to schemes in place.
7.Refresher training and mentorship programmes for women scientists for reentry in R&D careers after a career breakIntroduce a mentorship scheme for those women (i) who want to refresh their old skills acquired during their PhD and begin a career afresh at whatever stage possible, (ii) who want to continue in science research training because of a long (3-10 years) gap in career, and (iii) in an area where their primary science training will provide an additional advantageProvide an age-relaxation for women who need formal training for gaining admission to the course/taking extra time to finish the courseMake specific collaborations with educational institutions for women scientists who was to get trained to bring in expertise from complementary fields and re-training opportunitiesExamine the possibility of further relaxation eligibility criteria regarding age of recruitment for highly qualified womenEncourage women’s presence in all government sponsored conferences/workshopsIPR course still exists, no new courses. Age relaxation criteria are mentioned on some recruitment flyers. 
8.Promote women scientists as science plannersHold training courses for middle level and senior women scientists in administration, financial managementInvolve women scientists in research and development from policy and programme planning stages and decision making committees to include purchase, stores, vigilance and grievance committeesNo such initiatives taken, as far as we know.
9.Financial support for improvement of overall generic facilities such as creches, toilets, campus housing and safe transportation for postdocs and scientistsIntroduce preferential allotment in on-campus housing for women employees or alternately provide safe transportation arranged for them between their residence and workplaceProvide safe transportation from airport/railway stations at odd hours when women employees move for official workSet up state-of-the-art creche in all institutions with proper management involving all stakeholders including male employees and for viability, explore the creche arrangement for sharing with other institutions.Feasibility of a day-care centre for elderly should also be examinedNot mandated at most institutions.
10.Compliance of Supreme Court guidelinesMake it mandatory for all institutions to ensure compliance of the Supreme Court guidelines to prevent and redress sexual harassment at the workplaceMake it mandatory for all institutions to display the composition of the sexual harassment committee and contact information of members on their websitesMake it mandatory for all institutions that the Committee regularly meet (even if it does not receive any complaint) and have workshops on gender sensitizationSeveral institutes have committees against sexual harassment, but whether this information is made public and if the committee meets regularly is unclear.
In the course of 6 years at IISc, there has been a single mandatory Workshop on Prevention of Sexual Harassment (which the author helped organize her own department). 
11.Separate procedure for handling complaints of harassment by women scientists against heads of institutionsFormulate and notify justice procedures for handling complaints of sexual harassment by women scientists against heads of institutionsSet up a redressal committee at the headquarters or at the level of Science departments to investigate complaints (Information about such referral committees should be easily available at the website of the respective institutions and departments)No details exist on the IISc iCASH page.
12.Provision for air travel even for women who are not eligible, particularly in difficult/far-flung/isolated areasProvide special provision for air travel to women with other family responsibilities to reduce travel time and discomfortNot provided.
13.National level gender-segregated data collection, annual upgradation and processes monitoringMake it mandatory for all government-funded institutions to collect, collate and publish national level gender-segregated data about (a) admissions to scientific/technical institutions, (b) selection of subjects, (c) recruitment in scientific institutions, (d) output of work [performance] in a common formatDevise and propagare among institutions a check list as a performance monitor for gender auditingNot mandated
14. Institute Transformation AwardIntroduce Institute Transformation Award for those institutes which move towards a gender enabling environmentDoes not exist
15.From ‘maternity leave’ to ‘family leave’In addition to the existing provision of maternity leave, introduce a new category of leave for part time work for women scientists for a total of nine months with the following provisions (i) upto six months of this leave can be availed by either parent over a period of ten years, and (ii) upto three months of this leave can be availed by the husband or the wife to take care of elderly parents in the familyThe current maternity leave is more lenient, but men still only get about 15 days for each childbirth.
16.Salary-linked child-care allowance in the absence of creche on campusProvide child-care allowance to women employees (if creche is not available on campus or within 2 Km from the workplace) which is linked to salary and which tapers off when the child becomes 10 years oldNot sure
17. Gender unit in all the State Councils for Science, Technology and EnvironmentWork out the detailed requirements for setting up the gender units, recurring budgetary requirement and objectives in consultation with the State Councils for S&T. Does not exist for Karnataka. Not checked for other states.