Gender equality: Boost prospects for women scientists

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India is set to become the world's most populous nation and has the potential to be a scientific powerhouse. To speed the process, it will need to develop innovative solutions for advancing women's careers and participation in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).

Despite commendable initiatives by government departments and science academies (see R. Godbole and R. Ramaswamy in Women in Science and Technology in Asia; AASSA, 2015), India so far has no comprehensive national programme for encouraging institutions to undertake active gender-equality measures. It could learn from schemes elsewhere, such as the Equality Challenge Unit's Athena SWAN Charter in Britain and Ireland ( and the government-supported Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot initiative led by Australian science academies (

A workshop convened last year by the Australian, Indian and UK governments resulted in cross-national recommendations for achieving gender equality in STEMM (see We hope that these will spur efforts by the scientific community and the government of India to implement them in cooperation with similar initiatives in other countries.

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  1. University of Oxford, UK.

    • Pavel V. Ovseiko
  2. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

    • Rohini M. Godbole
  3. George Institute for Global Health, University of Sydney, Australia.

    • Jane Latimer

Competing financial interests

The authors all received reimbursement of travel expenses to attend the trilateral Australia–India–UK workshop on ‘Women in STEMM’ convened on 28–30 November 2016 in New Delhi. Reimbursement was from the UK Science and Innovation Network, British High Commission, India (to P.V.O.); from the Department of Science and Technology, India (to R.M.G.); and from the SAGE Initiative, Australian Academy of Science and Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (to J.L.).

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