Women and Girls in Science: Scholarships, Fellowships, Mentoring for Female Students and Women in STEM

Over the past decades, the global community has made great efforts to bring equity in the visibility of women and girls in science. Science and gender equality are vital for global development and form an important part of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

However, even today, a significant gender gap still exists worldwide at all levels of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines everywhere.

This is why the International Day of Women and Girls in Science is observed annually on February 11 as declared by the United Nations General Assembly to recognize the important role women play in science. and technology.

According to the latest All-India Higher Education Survey, released in the academic year 2019-2020, the percentage of women in engineering and technology in India is below 30%.

However, there are many old and new institutes and several large-scale organizations that are making sustained efforts such as launching special scholarship programs to bridge the gender gap through their various endeavors.

Institutions in India working to support women and girls in science

IIT Delhi: In a bid to encourage girls to choose science as a career, IIT Delhi has launched the STEM mentorship program for schoolgirls.

The main objectives of the program designed for students in class 11 are to train young students to think creatively about science and innovation, to provide them with new practical experience in solving research problems and to help them to build a stronger knowledge base.

The project areas of the students will cover different science and engineering disciplines such as computer science, chemistry, mechanical engineering, physics and biological sciences.

Under this initiative, IIT Delhi faculty engaged in cutting-edge research in science, technology and related fields deliver online lectures and conduct lab demonstrations every month.

IIT Mandi: IIT Mandi offers a merit-based scholarship comprising full tuition waiver and a monthly stipend of Rs 1,000 in the first year, regardless of parent category and income.

The merit scholarship will continue for four years of BTech programs, subject to the candidate’s good academic performance indicated by minimum SPGA criteria of 7.0 for the previous two semesters and no disciplinary action.

The objective of this unique, fully faculty-supported, induction program is to provide training for new students who train new students to help them with the transition from school to college, to improve their respective skills and competencies. and to appreciate the importance of the engineering society. connect.

IIM Bangalore: The institute focuses on high enrollment of women and has collaborated with Citi Bank and introduced Citi’s Women Leader Award.

This is a merit-based scholarship that covers tuition fees for the second year. Applicants are selected from the top 25% of the lot at the end of the first year.

Nomination is made by the institute and students are selected based on their statement of purpose and subsequent interviews scheduled by Citi Group.

Plaksha University: This young university which aims to become a technological university for the future has launched the Ayyalasomayajula Lalitha Fund to promote the enrollment of girls and women in STEM education, especially in higher education.

It aims to award 50% of total scholarships and grants to female students, which will not only provide equal opportunities for bright minds from disadvantaged backgrounds, but will also increase the ratio of girls in STEM education.

It is named after Ayyalasomayajula Lalitha, the first Indian woman to become a professional engineer.

One of the visions of the fund is that beneficiaries are morally obligated to repay the value of the principal to the fund in order to make the fund sustainable and enable future women changemakers to benefit from the same fund.

Large-scale companies working to help women and girls in science


Founded in 1911 in New York, the multinational technology company works in more than 171 countries and has launched multiple initiatives to advance women and girls in science:

  • STEM for girls: It was launched in India with a vision to prepare over 200,000 high school girls through a 3-year program to pursue and understand their potential in New Collar careers. It builds technical capabilities, as well as life and self-actualization skills, to meet the challenges of the 21st century. STEM for Girls now reaches over 330,000 learners.
  • Advanced Diploma Program: The two-year advanced diploma program in emerging technologies created in collaboration with the Ministry of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship will be accessible to 100 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), including 50 all-female ITIs. The program offers internships of up to five months and mentorship by IBMers.
  • Scaling of ‘Vigyan Jyoti’ and Engage with Science (‘Vigyan Prasar’): DST has partnered with IBM India to expand these two DST initiatives to strengthen business, reach more schools, and enable IBM women tech experts to interact and inspire female students.
    Vigyan Jyoti promotes STEM learning among female students in grades 9-12 to help them pursue higher education, especially at top colleges in areas where girls are grossly underrepresented. The program offers a fellowship, visits to nearby scientific institutions, science camps, guest speakers from eminent women scientists, and career advice.

British Council

The British Council for Women in STEM Scholarships offers more than 100 scholarships annually for STEM women scholars from Asia and the Americas, of which 65 scholarships are reserved for STEM women scholars from India and other countries from South Asia, awarded on the basis of merit with no specific country-cap.

Under the scheme, female STEM researchers from India can apply for masters courses and early postgraduate scholarships at 13 UK universities in courses such as data science, environmental science, engineering, public health systems, information technology, renewable energy and energy management, and project management. .

Selected scholars will be able to obtain a Masters or Early Research Fellowship at a UK university, and the scholarship will cover tuition fees, monthly stipend, travel costs, visa and medical cover costs, as well as funding dependents if a fellow wishes. travel with their children.

Other Important Scholarships for Women and Girls

Some other important scholarships for women in STEM or for female students are:

  • AICTE Pragati Scholarship Program (Government): 4,000 scholarships under the MHRD scholarship program for female students enrolled in technical colleges/institutions approved by AICTE; tuition fees up to INR 30,000 are paid; a monthly subsistence allowance of INR 2,000 is paid for 10 months.
  • DRDO Scholarship Program for Girls (Government): 30 scholarships for girls who passed the JEE Main and were admitted in the 1st year of the current academic year in the corresponding BE/BTech/BSc engg course; Rs 15,500 per month subject to Rs 1,86,000 per year for a maximum period of two years.
  • Swami Vivekananda Scholarship Scheme for Single Girls (Government): the beneficiary student receives INR 25,000 per month for the first 2 years as a JRF (Junior Research Fellow); if promoted to SRF (Senior Research Fellow), they receive INR 28,000 per month for 3 years; annual contingency grant of INR 10,000 per year for the first 2 years, then INR 20,500 for the remainder of the 3 years; an additional $2,000 is also granted for reader/companion assistance.
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship for Women (Govt): 100 scholarships for women pursuing a doctorate; INR 38,800 per month for the first 2 years and INR 46,500 per month for the following 3 years; eligible for any contingency grant up to INR 50,000 per annum for the full duration of the scholarship; can also get reader/escort support of INR 2,000 per month
  • Tata Housing Scholarships for Deserving Female Students (pvt): Financial assistance up to INR 60,000
  • CBSE UDAAN: Free online/offline resources via weekend virtual contact courses; study materials, tutorials, videos, commentaries; mentoring opportunities; corrective actions to correct learning
  • DST Fellowship for Women Scientists (WOS-B): Up to INR 40,000 per month
  • DST Fellowship for Women Scientists (WOS-A): INR 55,000 per month as scholarship amount
  • CBSE Scholarship for Single Girl: INR 500 per month for two academic years

Read: 7 Women Scientists Whose Discoveries Have Been Attributed to Men

Read: Indian women scientists who proved they are no less than men

Read: 11 women who should have won the Nobel but didn’t

Read: 10 women who won the Nobel Prize and broke the glass ceiling

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