Jalandhar: Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani on Saturday said women in science are the "largest minority" in the country, with only 14 per cent of them contributing to the profession.
She spoke about an inherent gender bias against women in the society, hampering their entry in the highly competitive world of science.
Irani said this while inaugurating the 8th Women Science Congress -- part of the Indian Science Congress -- here at the Lovely Professional University, which is hosting both the events.
"While everyone knows that science is gender-neutral, what is not neutral is capacity of women to get scientific opportunity," she said.
"Of the 2.8 lakh scientists and engineers employed in research and development across the country, women's number is only 14 per cent... that makes women the largest minority in science," she added.
The Minister also called for translation of academic journals and papers into regional languages from English.
"English is the lingua franca of science. But according to census data, 96.7 per cent of the population resorts to 22 scheduled languages," she said.
She further advocated that these translated works of science be given to school children also to develop in them a "love for science".