Department of Atomic Energy

Vigyan -Vidushi – 2023, a three-week summer programme to address gender balance in the discipline of Physics at the doctorate level, starts at HBCSE in Mumbai


Gender gap in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is a matter of global concern, says TIFR scientist

Posted On: 12 JUN 2023 6:32PM by PIB Mumbai

: Mumbai, June 12, 2023

Vigyan -Vidushi – 2023, an initiative to address the gender balance in the discipline of Physics at the doctorate level, has commenced at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), in Mumbai from today.  40 women students from forty different institutes all over India, who have just completed their first year MSc in Physics, are attending this programme that will give them an exposure to advanced physics courses and encourage them to perform innovative experiments.

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), through its Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), has started the three-week summer programme “Vigyan Vidushi” for girl students pursuing Physics at M.Sc. level, since 2020. The programme, which had started during the COVID pandemic, will be held completely in the residential mode, at HBSCE, for the first time from 12 June to 1 July, 2023.

Encouraging the girl-students pursuing MSc Physics, Centre Director of HBCSE Prof. Arnab Bhattacharya, gave a presentation of women-scientists who have made a successful career out of physics across the world.  Prof. Savita Ladage, Dean, HBCSE, stated that the students who attended this programme in the previous three batches gained a new perspective about the immense possibilities of a career in Physics. She urged the students to be torch-bearers of the programme and spread knowledge encourage other girl-students to study Physics.

Prof. Vandana Nanal (TIFR), who is the Convenor of Vigyan Vidushi -2023, acquainted the students with the concept of Vigyan Vidushi followed by an overview of the program presented by Prof. Anwesh Mazumdar.

Prof. Nanal mentioned that the Gender gap in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is a matter of global concern. Globally, female students’ enrolment is particularly low in natural science, mathematics, and statistics at ~5%. “In India, the problem of gender imbalance in Physics is acute. A survey of select Physics Depts. of elite Research Institutes in India reveals that the number of girl students at the doctorate level is ~23%. The problem is complex and needs a multipronged approach”, she said. This calls for a need for mentoring and honing networking skills and inclusion of gender sensitization in science education, which has been highlighted by national and global surveys and has been also recommended by the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India.  Vigyan Vidushi, a program dedicated only to girl-students at the postgraduate level is a small but concrete step towards addressing the problem of “under-representation of women in science” in India, stated the scientist.

Prof. Anwesh Mazumdar, Co-Convenor of the programme informed that prime features of the workshop include interactive guiding sessions for taking up research careers in physics, lectures by eminent women scientists, group discussions, improving self-confidence, gender-related challenges, and introduction to Physics Education research.  Additionally, there will be sessions on thinking through problem-solving and career guidance about research opportunities, informed Prof. Amol Dighe, Co-Convenor of the programme. They will visit research laboratories at TIFR, Colaba, and the Giant Metrowave Radio Telescope (GMRT) near Pune. They will be taught, inspired and mentored by successful women scientist role models.

 

 

 

 

The 40 students, from among 500 applications received from across the country, including the North-Eastern regions, have been selected based on their academic profiles and recommendation letters. As part of the Vigyan Vidushi workshop, the students will visit various research Institutions. This unique initiative of TIFR for the girl students currently in its initial years, will be expanded in the coming years benefiting more number of girls.   

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