Science, Technology and Innovation have emerged as the major drivers of national development globally. The Indian STI system, which has the advantage of a large demographic dividend and the huge talent pool, will have to play a defining role in achieving sustainable and inclusive growth.
India has declared 2010-20 as the “Decade of Innovation” and the Government has stressed the need to enunciate a policy to synergize science, technology and innovation and has also established the National Innovation Council (NInC). The STI policy 2013 in furtherance of these pronouncements tries to integrate Science, Technology and Innovation which leads to new value creation and tries to bridge various gaps inclusive of the gender gap.
The STI policy 2013 stresses the participation of women in STI activities as important. Over generation’s women’s roles in food production, community management, natural resources and biodiversity management has always been critical. In the last decade India has made a conscious effort to engender major rules and acts in the above areas like the Biodiversity Act, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act, The Forest Rights Act and the Action Plans drawn for Combating Climate Change etc.
There have been policy support for both improving the visibility of women in science, efforts have also been made to have suitable programmes which will help take the benefits of science and technology for women and recognize their roles in STI. Thus, it is recognised that ‘Women in Science and Science for Women’ needs to be addressed to increase effective participation of women in STI.
This paper will look at the current best practices in terms of the policy support available and the challenges and opportunities in converting them into definitive action plans to achieve gender parity and increase the participation of women in STI, in this large democracy in which gender equality is enshrined in the constitution.
Some good examples of ecosystem approaches in terms of natural resources management; integrated village development programmes in which women play an important role; creation of eco-jobs at the grass roots to enhance/strengthen livelihoods; technology parks for dissemination of S&T and entrepreneurship development and the role of ICT for development will be presented to showcase the approaches being adopted by the Nation in enhancing the participation of women in STI. These are good examples in terms of policy/programmes/partnerships and processes which can be adopted as strategies by the Asian region as they share common challenges of food security and environmental management and the roles women play in them.