Union Minister to inaugurate a conference on “Women Leading Change in Health and Science in India”


Melinda French Gates, Co-chair and Trustee Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will also share her thoughts on the subject.

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh will inaugurate a conference titled, “Women Leading Change in Health and Science in India” in New Delhi tomorrow.

Dr. Bharti Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Ms. Melinda French Gates, Co-chair and Trustee Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Ms. Amie Batson, Executive Director, WomenLift Health will also address the conference.

The conference being organized by Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a PSU of DBT, in collaboration with WomenLift Health and Grand Challenges India will highlight and promote the importance of women’s leadership in health and science and seek to identify attainable pathways and goals to strengthen the representation of women in leadership positions in India and Global health ecosystem.

This conference honours and celebrates Indian women’s accomplishments in overcoming unprecedented challenges over the past few years and advancing STEM innovation and healthcare with their indefatigable resilience and unwavering perseverance.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Dr Rajesh S. Gokhale, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology& Chairperson, BIRAC said “Women’s leadership throughout centuries has been transformative. I congratulate all women, and I believe that this is the time we need to empower more women in leadership positions so that India becomes the superpower that our Prime Minister dreams of.”

Dr Alka Sharma, Senior Adviser, DBT & Managing Director, BIRAC, said, “Women’s leadership is now recognized at the highest level and is steadily on the rise. Through various schemes and programs of BIRAC, the researchers and entrepreneurs are being promoted and supported across the country”. She further added that “this conference is certainly going to help in building a national focus on women’s leadership”.

The global healthcare workforce is predominantly women and yet they remain underrepresented in leadership and decision-making positions, especially at the higher executive or board levels. Under-representation in STEM is also one of the major concerns. In India, even though the healthcare workforce participation is somewhat similar between men and women, there are fewer women in leadership roles.

Recognizing the importance of this issue, BIRAC has been working to advance scientific and technological research to alleviate India’s most critical health and development issues.

Initiatives in agriculture, food, and nutrition are centered on improving health outcomes for women by mitigating maternal and child health issues. Initiatives like BIRACTiE Women in Entrepreneurial Research focus on Women in Entrepreneurial Research- strongly promote and recognize women in science and entrepreneurship.

Co-host WomenLift Health works to accelerate the advancement of talented women into senior leadership by investing in mid-career women and influencing the environments in which they live and work.

The esteemed panel of speakers at this conference includes Dr Soumya Swaminathan, former Chief Scientist World Health Organization, Dr Renu Swarup, former Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr Vinod Kumar Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, and Dr Rajiv Bahl, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research, and Secretary, Department of Health Research, Dr. Tessy Thomas, Director General of Aeronautical Systems, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and many other prominent names working in health and science.