Opportune time for women to pursue science: ‘Missile Woman'

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on November 15, 2017

Dr Tessy Thomas

There has never been a more opportune moment for women to take up science as a profession than now, says Dr Tessy Thomas, the country's ‘Missile Woman.'

Young girls have greater support both at home and outside, a wider knowledge base and more opportunities to learn, she said addressing a gathering of researchers, schoolgirls and science enthusiasts here.


They must build on these attributes to pursue an extremely fulfilling career in science, Dr Thomas said.

The meeting was organised by the Women Scientists Cell of Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment in connection with the International Women's Day celebrations.

Dr Thomas, the first woman scientist to head a missile programme, is currently the Project Director for Agni - India's long-range missile system - at the Defence Research and Development Organisation in Hyderabad.

“We need more women in the decision-making process to serve as mentors and role models for our youngsters,” she said.

They key is to remain focused on your goals, confident in your abilities and never stop learning.


Dr Thomas inaugurated the meeting of women achievers in science, a platform for aspiring researchers to interact with some of the leading figures in the field.

Later, she made a presentation on science and technology with special focus on the missile defence systems.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Executive Vice-President of the Council and Ex-officio Principal Secretary of to the Department of Science and Technology, Kerala, noted that women's education has been the bedrock of the State's developmental success.

But this talent pool needs to be retained in the industry and academia in order to achieve a more inclusive growth.

“We have exceptionally talented girls who pursue science up to undergraduate or postgraduate level, but their research activity is often not sustained beyond for many reasons.” he said.


We need to make them aware that there are a number of meaningful schemes introduced by leading research institutions to encourage them to stay in science.

Prof Pillai said there are programmes today that allow women scientists to take a career-break of up to 10 years to fulfil their family commitments before returning to work.

Eminent scientist Prof C.G. Ramachandran Nair gave a special lecture on ‘Life and work of women scientists.'

Dr K.R. Lekha, the head of the Women Scientists Cell, said in her welcome address that the council would extend all support for youngsters who want to excel in science.

Six winners of the Young Scientist Award presented at the annual Kerala Science Congress event presented papers on varied research subjects.

Among these were Dr Lakshmi S. Nair of the University of Connecticut Health Centre in Farmington, US; Dr Giable George of M.G. University; Ms Uma S. from the Sophisticated Test and Instrumentation Centre; Ms Amita Ajit; Ms Renju Krishna V. of Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute and Dr Been R. of Kerala Agricultural University.


Published on February 19, 2012

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