Many countries around the world have encouraged better representation of women in at one or more levels of government through gender quotas. In others, the numbers of women in national, state and local politics have risen gradually over time due to value change in society or other reasons. The presence of larger numbers of women in the corridors of power is found to, among other things, impact favourably on welfare-relevant policies. How is India doing in terms of women’s representation in politics, in comparison to other countries in the world and to its neighbours? What are the obstacles to better representation of women in government? Has the rise of strong women leaders, even if few in number, made a difference to gender relations and more broadly welfare and other policy areas? These and other related issues will be up for discussion and debate in this panel.
Around the world, a growing number of women are attending college. In many countries, they already outnumber men both in terms of numbers as well as college completion rates. Women are also outperforming men in many disciplines. However, when we examine the numbers carefully, we find that women students are concentrated in select disciplines and heavily excluded in others, typically technology but also sciences and business studies. Furthermore, the numbers of women faculty, especially in the areas of science, technology and business studies, is low and they are less likely to be recognized for their contributions in these areas. Women leaders are even more scarce at universities, research centres or science- and technology-focused industries. The situation in India is quite uninspiring. The panelists are expected to discuss the reasons for the weak presence of women in education, science and technology and what the government and private sector needs to do to improve the situation. How is it that there are more women attending college and completing their degrees and outperforming men but still not ‘making it’? How strong is the gender bias in India and what can be done about it?