Working late nights in her laboratory at the IIT Delhi, physicist Savita Grewal had to battle more than just sleep to continue probing subatomic particles that could hold the secret to nature’s deepest mysteries.
Grewal had just earned admission to the PhD programme at the IIT, but was facing pressure from her family to instead get married and relocate to Hyderabad where her husband worked. She gave in, and gave up on her PhD dream.
India offers the worst opportunities for women like Grewal in science, technology and innovation sectors, a comparative study by the Elsevier Foundation on seven major economies shows.
Researchers compared the US, the European Union (EU), South Korea, India, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia on women’s health, social status, economic status, access to resources, representation in politics, government, industry and trade unions and education. They also compared the economies in science and engineering enrolment, PhDs and participation in the science and technology labour force for women, to compute a comprehensive rating of these economies on gender equality in science and technology.
The EU — despite the wide differences between member nations — ranked highest overall, followed by US. Brazil is third, close on the heels of the US, and is followed by South Africa, Indonesia and South Korea. India ranks last among the seven economies.