The one day public DWIH workshop titled ‘Women’s Empowerment in a Globalized World’ was jointly organised by Max Planck Society, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, DWIH (German House for Research and Innovation, New Delhi) and IndiaBioscience at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) on Monday, 23rd November, 2015. The workshop brought together established women researchers, academicians and leaders from Germany and India, to showcase their work and to discuss scientific, social and political issues concerning career development of women from early stages to top level management positions.
From managing political cabinets to leading space mission programs, women all over the world today are making strides in their professional careers. Access to quality education and professional training over the last few decades has empowered women to choose career paths in their field of interest. However, increase in number of professionally trained female graduates globally has not directly translated in an increase of women in top management positions in academia and the corporate world. Conventional roadblocks such as gender issues, stereotypes, lack of mentoring, cultural differences and other social barriers continue to create inequality at work places and women are often underrepresented at the decision-making level of institutions.
Both Germany and India have launched various programs to support women’s empowerment. For instance, the Indian government set up the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme (Save the Girl Child, Educate her) to ensure the survival and protection of the girl child as well as her education and participation in society. Germany’s programme of action during its Presidency of the G-7 in 2015 focuses on strengthening women economically. The German parliament passed a new law in March 2015 requiring the country’s biggest companies to appoint women to 30% of the seats on their non-executive boards from 2016. The new quotas will also apply to leadership positions in the public sector.
Political, social and economic reforms are being made worldwide to create gender balanced work environment and prevent skilled and educated women from falling in traps of existing social biases that hinder their career progress. The question remains whether implementing women-centric incentives such as fellowships, maternity benefits, promotion opportunities are enough or efforts need to be channelized in the direction of bringing about an overall change in attitude and outlook towards this issue of global concern. The above issues were discussed in an Indo-German context at the workshop. The event brought together established women researchers from Germany and India, showcased their research and discussed scientific, social and political issues concerning career development of women researchers/professionals from early stages to top level management positions. Through keynote speeches and a panel discussion, personal stories were shared to motivate young students and researchers to build their careers in their respective fields.Target Audience: The event was open to the public, including researchers at all stages of their careers.
Vice-President for Research, Freie Universität Berlin
Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin
Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
German Deputy Consul General, Consulate of Federal Republic of Germany, Bangalore
Die Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
National Centre for Biological Sciences
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
GKVK, Bellary Road,
Bangalore 560065, India