In a recent development, the ministry of science and technology is planning to grade higher educational institutions and research institutes that it funds, on parameters of Gender Equality from this academic year. While 20 institutes, including some Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and National Institutes of Technology (NITs), have signed up to be part of the pilot project, the grading system will eventually be rolled out across 90 institutes, that are funded partially or fully by the ministry.
How Will It Work?
for STEM (science, tech, engineering, mathematics and medicine) institutions will be based on:
- The number of women occupying science faculty positions in the institute
- How well the institute recognises contributions by women scientists and the number of women fellows sent to Indian Academy of Sciences and Indian National Science Academy
- Other parameters will include PhD awardees among women and how many women scientists returned after a sabbatical
- Gold Grade
Gold grade is for institutes where beacons of gender equality achievement and role models exist
- Silver Grade
Silver grade is for those which have identified challenges and demonstrated impact
- Bronze Grade
Bronze grade recognises institutes which are working to promote equality.
Sanjay Mishra, head of KIRAN division at the department of science and technology (DST) which will give the ratings to institutions in collaboration with the British Council, said:
The policy will initially include 20 institutes which will adopt a self-assessment process to an accreditation model to help identify gender gaps and barriers to progression faced by women in science based on interviews with them.
The total budget of the project is Rs 8 crore, of which Rs 3 crore will be provided by the British Council.
Explaining what they hope to achieve with this initiative, Mishra said,
Ratings like these will not only bring about a cultural and mindset change but also encourage top authorities like vice-chancellors and directors to take all possible action to recruit, retain and promote more women in the STEM sector.
At present, a couple of IITs and some NITs have been included in the pilot. Later, we will grade other institutes with the ministry’s approval.
Methodology on Gender Equality Ratings:
- Self assessment process to develop accreditation
- Followed by peer interview
- Surveys for data collection
- Nominated representatives of pilot groups to monitor evaluation
- Volunteering institutes will be provided mentoring
- Workshops on best practices on Gender Equality by DST selected agency
- Striking a balance for Gender Equality is always a welcome step
- However, the term Equality should not be reduced to only privileges for women, and misusing the parameters should be strictly discouraged
- On the other hand, institutes should remain equally fair to male employees as well, who could be competent enough to aspire for certain positions
- The institutions must also not go overboard in appeasing women employees just to be relevant in media space or to achieve higher ratings
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