Transforming India: Focus on Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs in Field of Science


What is the presence of women in the world of science? Sheatwork focuses on this, as we celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11.

Women entrepreneurs are today entering all areas of business and creating waves. But, what about the world of science? This comes to light as we celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11.

Through the channels of history, we have seen women emerge triumphant – doing wonders in all areas, including the arena of science. From Marie Curie, who is called the greatest female scientist, and who won two Nobel prizes and who discovered radium toUS biochemist Frances Arnold who was awarded the Nobel prize for chemistry and Canadian scientist Donna Strickland won the Nobel Physics Prize in 2018, we have seen women shine in their profession. Yes, and they have been making inroads into entrepreneurship too. Time and again Indian women have proved that science and business can be a good match. Waking up to an idea of starting your own venture to executing it make it a reality, takes a lot of effort and pain too.  

But, it is a fact that scientists may not readily identify themselves as entrepreneurs. Research reveals that less than the 30% of researchers around the world are women, hence there exists an untapped opportunity in science for women entrepreneurs.

To cater to the idea of women scientists venturing into their own business, there was an event in October  at Lucknow, where a relevant Conclave was held. This put the focus on women scientists and entrepreneurs. The Women Scientists & Entrepreneurs Conclave was titled “Women Scientists & Entrepreneurs: Contributing towards transforming India” and was organized during 4th India International Science Festival 2018 – to promote and encourage science education and entrepreneurship among the young women.

The aim of the programme was to showcase the role / contribution of women scientists & entrepreneurs in transforming India; to encourage and motivate the students to take Science as a career and make them aware of opportunities and encourage the participants towards Entrepreneurship to generate self-employment and job creations.

Many points came to light here.

Inaugurating the Women Scientists & Entrepreneurs Conclave Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology in her inaugural address, put the spotlight on women scientists. She praised the role of women in the field of science and technology and expressed hope that this platform could boost efforts to encourage and motivate women to take science as a career.

The keynote address by Dr Veena Tandon elaborated on the contribution of women in science in India and how women scientists can provide an opportunity to make an important contribution in bridging the gender gap, and thus, paving the way for successgful participation of women in science.

A session on : “Journey of the Women Innovators and communicators”,  saw successful women entrepreneurs talk about their journeys. They discussed various opportunities available and encouraged the young minds to take up the emerging uncertain path of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Here, the question comes up – how many female entrepreneurs can be found in the science world?

Female entrepreneurship has attracted increasing attention in recent years in light of concrete evidence of the importance of new business creation for economic growth and development.  Not only does female entrepreneurship contribute to economic growth and employment creation, but it is increasingly recognized to enhance the diversity of entrepreneurship in any economic system and to provide avenues for fulfilling female potential for success. But reality is that these are rarely leveraged in a systematic way, given the fact that female entrepreneurship talent and potential remain largely untapped in many contexts.

While studying the business scene, there is accumulating evidence suggesting that although the rate at which women are setting up businesses has increased significantly. But, the rates of female entrepreneurial activity are clearly and systematically lower than those for males.

Today’s world is changing at a startling pace. The political, economic  transformations have created economic opportunities for women who want to own and operate businesses. Today, women in advanced market economies own more than 25% of all businesses and women-owned businesses in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America are growing rapidly

How does the woman fare in the global scene and especially in India?

Today, we have a number of women achievers here in India. Romita Ghosh is a successful entrepreneur who created an online marketplace – ‘Medi Samaan’to provide medical equipment to hospitals and make healthcare affordable for all.    Meena Ganesh started ‘Portea Medical’ that specialises in providing geriatric, post-operative, and many other health services in-house to patients who cannot go to a hospital. Anuradha Acharya is the founder and CEO of two successful ventures ‘Ocimum Bio Solutions’ and ‘MapMyGenome’ that focuses on preventive healthcare options. Savitha Ananth, created ‘Genbios’, a  startup that provides solutions through innovative techniques to pharmaceuticals, biotech, food, beverages, and many others by utilizing bio-information. Anu Sridharan’s  ‘NextDrop’aims to solve the problem of three billion population in the world who do not have continuous access to drinking water. And the list is growing…of women who became entrepreneurs in the science arena for a social cause.

As the saying goes, when the going gets tough, the tough get going! So, the opportunities are open for women to take that critical step and move ahead in the world of science. And, specially today, when women are speeding down the path of achievement, not getting cowed down by obstacles.

The road ahead seems bright – for the woman entrepreneur is unstoppable!

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