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To boost women leadership in science and technology, on International Women’s Day, Indian Institute of Technology Madras has launched the ‘Women Leading IITM’ (WLI) program.

The Institute has already made considerable progress on improving the number of women students, faculty, staff and creating opportunities for success, IIT Madras said.

This program will help to build on the progress achieved so far and accelerate further progress.

The program will make grants each year to accelerate women technologists’ careers as well as provide a supportive environment for women to thrive at IIT Madras.

The inaugural grants are set to be issued on March 8, 2021 to mark the International Women’s Day celebrations at IIT Madras.

The Institute is planning to raise the $2 million endowment 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 lakhs for various initiatives.

This sum will be raised through Alumni and CSR grants. Corporate and Alumni looking to contribute to this initiative can do so through –

IIT Madras Dean (Planning) Prof. Ligy Philip said, “The ‘Women Leading IITM’ is a well-thought-out initiative by IIT Madras, with support from IITM Foundation, to nurture, develop and support women talent at IITM.”

This program will definitely help the women talent of IIT Madras to excel in their fields and come out as S&T leaders, Philip added.

The goals of ‘Women Leading IITM’ program include increasing the percentage of women faculty in Assistant Professorships to 20% from the current 15%, generating 30% of all faculty applications from women candidates, grantees expected to graduate to leadership roles within IITM and Next-generation ambassadors for enabling a gender-balanced IITM.

IIT Madras 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,” he added.

The endowment will provide opportunities for alumni to further gender diversity and support women role models at IIT Madras. Various batches of the alumni have already started supporting with commitments including the Classes of ‘90 and ‘95 reunion gifts and leadership gift from a Distinguished Alumnus as well as Google Alumni.

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