Prof. Shankar's e-mail speaks for itself, so I don't need to add any comment -- except to highlight that she is the first woman Electrical Engineering graduate from IIT-D.
I thank Prof. Shankar for agreeing to share her e-mail with us here:
As the first woman Electrical Engineering graduate of IIT Delhi (1968) I was really offended by an announcement on your PAN-IIT site. The offensive piece relates to the programme for spouses of "IIT" alumni. When the rest of the developed and developing world is making a concerted effort at gender fairness, IIT-M a prime center of excellence in Science and Technology has chosen to ignore, in one sweep, women IIT graduates, many of whom have made sterling contributions to industry, teaching and research. The underlying assumption seems to be that all "spouses" are women. Even more surprising is the programme charted out for the spouses!
The Mystic trail with its promises of insights into astrology, palmistry and the like, promotes obscurantism, totally out of place in an institution devoted to science and technology.
About the choice of women chosen as role models the less said the better. There are so many eminent women writers, doctors, scientists and social activists who have done the country proud with their achievemnents and who would be able to hold the interest of all spouses (male or female!). I am sure the IIT labs, the library, would make an interesting tour too. I urge you to please consider modifying the programme as it is totally out of place in this day and age and will make us the laughing stock of the global scientific community!
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