A significant gender gap has been prevailing at all levels of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) across the world. Under-representation of women still exists in these fields, even though women have made tremendous participation and progress in career.

Therefore, the Commission on the Status of Women adopted a report which calledparticipation of women in the STEM and for the “promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and work”, according to United Nations website. 

The United Nations General Assembly declared February 11, 2022 as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This year, the theme of the 7th International Day of Women and Girls in Science is “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Water Unites Us”. 

In India,from Anandi Gopal Joshi, the first Indian women Physician, to Kalpana Chawla and many more, there have been several inspiring stories of women. Listed below are a few:

Women in Science

Janaki Ammal (1897 - 1984) was a famous botanist and the first scientist to receive the Padma Shri award in 1977. Her famous works were the studies of sugarcane and eggplant. Janaki Ammal also pursued scientific research in cyptogenetics. She obtained a PhD in one of the America’s public universities. 

Kalpana Chawla (1962 - 2003) was the first Indian Astrounaut who flew in Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997. She was the mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator. She obtained a Masters of Science Degree from University of Texas in 1984. She died when the Columbia space shuttle disintegrated up on re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. 

M Vanitha and Ritu Karidhal – the women behind the Chandrayaan 2. They both were heading the country’s ISRO mission, Chandrayaan 2. M Vanitha was the project director while, Ritu Karidhal’s key task was to handle the lunar orbital insertion of the craft. This was the first time in Indian history where two women scientists led the ISRO mission. 

Prof Sarah Gilbert: A professor of vaccinology at Oxford university, Gilbert was the women behind Oxford vaccine, and she lead the Oxford vaccine trails, which had shown encouraging results. Leading the team, Gilbert started working on a design for vaccine for Covid-19 in 2020 before it was declared as a pandemic. 

Gitanjali Rao: Indian-American Gitanjali Rao, a brilliant young scientist and inventor, was named as the “Kid of the Year” by TIME magazine. 15-year-old Gitanjali Rao was recognised for her astonishing work using technology. Her works involved to tackle issues ranging from contaminated drinking water to opioid addiction and cyberbullying. Her mission was to create a global community for young innovators to tackle problems.