A national seminar spanning six days at National Institute of Technology – Tiruchi that was sponsored by the Policy Monitoring and Research Cell of National Commission for Women provided a platform for deliberations to identify ways to improve women’s participation in science, mathematics, and technical education.
Titled ‘Women in Science and Technology: Breaking the Glass Ceiling’, the seminar organised by the Women’s cell of NIT-T under the auspices of Technical Education and Quality Improvement Program (TEQIP-III) start-up cell witnessed women achievers reflecting on the challenges and opportunities. In her lecture titled ‘Wake up, grab the opportunities’ on the concluding day, the Director of NIT-T Mini Shaji Thomas recounted the path of survival against odds in pursuit of success.
The only woman director in the 32 NITs in India, Prof. Mini Shaji Thomas felt that career women, who are required to perform the role of homemakers as well, had to work much harder than men in order to succeed. Women have to be visible and innovative in their chosen professions, she said.
Sashi Sairaman, CEO, MTAB Technology Centre, Chennai, who spoke on challenges faced by women in the corporate world, observed that they had to work under tremendous pressure. Though the corporate world was far more accommodative for women compared to mainstream society, there was an urgent need to develop an ecosystem for them to work comfortably. Women need to sustain their competitive attitude and willingness to learn throughout their careers.
Observing that manufacturing industry was a men-dominated space, Ms. Sairaman sought to caution women that they should not be complacent. There was no need for the womenfolk to feel guilty about prioritising career, she said.
Lillykutty Jacob, Professor, Department of ECE, NIT Calicut, who inaugurated the seminar emphasised on the importance of women’s presence in policy making and the need to address women’s issues at both macro and micro levels.
Crystal Dilworth of Dr Crystal Dilworth, California Institute of Technology, a molecular nuclear scientist who was the guest of honour, said women have the burden of amplifying their voice and perspectives in a patriarchal system. A positive change, she said, could be achieved only through women’s presence in positions of power so that they could make strategic decisions.