Jayshree Mehta-Opening Statement

From: akapur@edc.org
Date: Wed Dec 01 1999 - 15:24:33 EST

Hello Friends,

Only a month left for entering into the new millenium while we are
on 'women in science'. I am very happy to be a member of the panel for
dialogue on the EDEQUITY listserv. Let me introduce myself .

I am a scientist (Physicist) in India and extremely interested in Gender
Science and Technology (GST) issues. Currently I am a chair of
Gender & Science & Technology (GASAT) Association and President of Once &
Future Action Network (OFAN). Both the organizations work for gender
equity in
science and technology education as well as in employment (profession). We
set up SATWAC Foundation (Science and Technology for Women and Children)
India which promotes no. of innovative research, action and training
for girls and women in science and technology. SATWAC works both in rural
well as urban areas. We had organized International GASAT 8 conference in
Ahmedabad, India with a theme 'Achieving 4E's: Education, Employment,
and Empowerment'.

We have recognized that education is the key to empowerment and helps in
improving the quality of life. Education builds capacity among people to
participate actively in decision making and be self reliant. The girls
education has been considered a very important area of a development by
all the
nations. There is still a big gap in girls access and enrollment in
schools at
primary as well as high school level compare to boys. Their continuation
at the
upper levels depend upon many social, economical and cultural factors.
studies show that the factors which affect negatively to the girls
participation in Science, Technology and Mathematics (STM ) are: lack of
and peers support, lack of role models, teachers attitudes (not sensitive
gender issues), organization of science and technology curricula and
Irrelevant and uninteresting teaching methods and lack of connection to
lives. These are just the few points contributing to the drop out of girls
school level.

 The FEMSA project has identify factors which are home, community and
based which continue to create gender disparity in education. The family
household income, parents education, traditional beliefs, sexual harassment
contribute to lower participation of girls in schools.

Many studies have shown the importance of reforming SMT education to meet
needs of girls. The partnership of girls, teachers and parents as well as
policy and decision makers and NGO's are important for the improvement of
participation and performance in SMT subjects. The attitudes of girls
themselves to SMT subjects and their low self esteems some times become
hindering factors.

Some of the challenges we face are:

1. How to make SMT education interesting to girls and relevant to their
2. How to gender sensitize large no. of teachers at primary, secondary and
under graduate level?
3. How to include indigenous knowledge systems in the classrooms of which
are the custodians?
4. What kind of SMT training modules to be developed which can be used in
nonformal education for reaching women in rural areas? How to create basic

I will be happy to hear more from you. Please feel free to raise

Thanking you.

With warm regards,

Jayshree A. Mehta
President, OFAN
Chair, GASAT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Jan 04 2000 - 12:33:32 EST