The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Madras) today launched a programme to boost women leadership in science and technology. The ‘women leading IITM’ programme aims to develop and support women talent at the institute. According to IIT Madras, the objective of the programme is to increase the percentage of women faculty in assistant professorships to 20 per cent from 15 per cent, generate 30 per cent of all faculty applicants from women candidates, among others. The programme will focus on to accelerate recruit, secure, develop, nurture and support programmes.
The inaugural grants will be issued on March 8 to mark the International Women’s Day. As per IIT Madras, “$2 million endowment will be raised by the end of 2021, which will provide annual grants to support programs taken by women students, faculty and researchers. In the first year alone, the endowment fund aims to grant Rs 70 lakh for various initiatives.”
Director, Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi said, “IIT Madras has made good progress in the last several years in increasing the percentage of women in the student population, from the UG level all the way up to the doctoral programme. The participation of women in the non-teaching staff is also very good, and we are making every effort to close the gap in the case of faculty. The WLI programme will be a powerful catalyst to enable us to reduce the hurdles faced by women students, faculty and staff at IIT Madras to achieve their full potential.”
Last year, the undergraduate batch comprised of 18 per cent of the female students, while over 30 per cent of the women students are enrolled in PhD programme. Also, 30 programmes to encourage women in STEM has been implemented.