In order to empower women leaders working in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in India, the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a Government of India company, has teamed with WomenLift Health to offer a leadership development course. The Grand Challenges India (GCI) initiative's Women Leadership in STEM (WLS) programme seeks to invest in mid-career women professionals and equip them with the resources, connections, and guidance necessary to succeed in their chosen fields. This will help to catalyse a systemic change towards gender equity in STEM leadership.
This part-time programme will bring together a cohort of 20 mid-career women leaders working in STEM institutions in India for three fully funded, five-day residential leadership workshops over the course of a year. The sessions have been designed, in collaboration with the Center for Creative Leadership, to support these women to realise their potential and grow as leaders and decision-makers as well as foster a strong network of champions and institutional partners. The WLS programme also includes a Leadership Project to address real-world challenges related to centering women and girls in STEM, catalysing institutional change, optimising pathways to leadership, building integrated and resilient health systems, and STEM innovation and policy in India.
The WLS programme is in line with the Government of India's commitment towards women-led development, as articulated at the G20 Summit in September 2023. Through its focus on transformative leadership and mentorship for women working in STEM, the programme offers a pathway for their increased representation and participation in decision-making processes, leading to more balanced and diverse leadership teams.
"The Women Leadership in STEM programme is a testament to our commitment to breaking barriers and creating a more inclusive STEM ecosystem in India," said Dr Shirshendu Mukherjee, Mission Director, Programme Management Unit, BIRAC. "We believe that by investing in the development of women leaders, we are driving innovation and progress in India's scientific landscape."
"When women have equal access to leadership, the health of women, men and children improves." said Amie Batson, President, WomenLift Health. "It is an honor to work with the Government of India as it prioritizes investments in women leaders in STEM and health."
The call for applications to the WLS programme will open on October 27, 2023; mid-career women professionals with 10-25 years of experience in recognised public and private STEM institutions in India are eligible to apply.