Saying that women form only 14 percent of the total scientists and engineers employed in research and development institutes across the country, Irani said: "female scientific community in India is the largest minority."
"Science is gender neutral, what is not neutral is the capacity of women to get scientific opportunities," said Irani, ruing the fact that women are not overwhelmingly under-represented in the scientific community.
Commenting on the ingrained gender bias in the society that is afflicting the scientific community as well, Irani said "81% of women scientists in stem field feel that there is a gender bias in their performance evaluation"
"How will you be paid more when your evaluators have a disinclination towards your gender?" Irani said, commenting on the pay gap between male and female scientists.
Irani said that gender bias starts at home and urged the gathering to make efforts to tackle the phenomenon and asserted that "there is a need to bring about change in the attitude" of the society as a whole.