Head and Academic Dean, Ph.D. Program and Professor and Head of the Education Program, NIAS, IISc. Campus, Bengaluru, India | NIAS, Bangalore
Anitha Kurup is a Professor and Chair and Academic Head, Ph.D. Programme and Head of the Education Programme. She leads the National Gifted and Talented Education Program in India anchored at NIAS. Her research interests span the broad disciplines of education and gender studies. Her recent publications “Trained Scientific Women Power: How much are we Losing and Why?” and “Trends Report: Creation and Analysis of Database of PhDs in India (1998-2007)” have been widely appreciated. Anitha Kurup was a part of an international panel that discussed the overview of shared challenges and needs for identifying and adopting Best Practices for women in science” http://www.iusstf.org/cms/newsimages/file/women-in-science/National-Institute-of-Advanced-Studies.pdf.
Prof. Kurup was the only social scientist as part of the Indian delegation of Women in Physics for the International Conference of Women in Physics organized in Waterloo, Canada in 2014. She conducted Gender workshop for the international participants, drawing from the research insights of the study of women scientists in India and the USA. The report- “A Comparative Study of Women Scientists and Engineers: Experiences in India and the USA”. In Eden Hennessey1, Anitha Kurup, L. Meza-Montes, and P. Shastri, Gender Studies Break Out Report, ICWIP 2014 Conference Proceedings, Waterloo, Canada http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/proceeding/aipcp/10.1063/1.4937643.
The India Country paper for the ICWIP Conference in 2014 titled “Towards Gender Equity in Physics in India: Initiatives, Investigations, and Questions”. The publication was authored by P. Shastri, A. Kurup, L. Resmi, R. Ramaswamy, S. Ubale, S. Bagchi, S. Rao and S. Narasimhan (2015). Towards Gender Equity in Physics in India: Initiatives, Investigations, and Questions. India Country Paper, ICWIP, Waterloo, Canada. http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/proceeding/aipcp/10.1063/1.4794242.
The challenges of women in science and engineering in India stand distinct from that of the West and other developed countries. Post – Independence, India has documented the glaring gender gaps spread across educational levels. India has made systematic interventions to close this gap; however, the progress made thus far further points to anomalies that have drawn the attention of researchers. India has adopted a two-way strategy to promote formal education in the country. On the one hand, it ensured that access to formal education was provided to all across caste, class, and gender. At the same time, the country also promoted science and technology in an attempt to catch up with the West. This dual policy had an interesting impact on how gender gaps played out across the years. India presents a unique challenge, as the problem for Indian science was not in attracting young girls to science and engineering but to focus on the ways in which the rising number of women in science can be reflected informal workspaces. Hence there was a need to shift focus to institutional spaces and interrogate the diverse ways in which women respond to these challenges. Important dimensions of work-life balance, changing caste, class & gender relations, growing number of women in these institutions, leadership styles and the history of the institutions also seem to interact in interesting ways making the field of study complex and unique. How one unfolds these complexities and makes attempts to provide possible explanations will be the focus of the presentation.