Women in India have been largely underrepresented in the field of science and technology. Only 14.3% of Indian researchers are women! Of course we have heard of the likes of Asima Chatterjee, Aditi Pant and Sunetra Gupta but there is so much more hidden talent in India that goes unnoticed everyday.
Meet science journalists Nandita Jayaraj and Aashima Dogra who, since 2016, have been ‘labhopping’ across India to meet with women scientists, engaging with the women working there, focussing on their personal journeys and research, and how their gender has affected scientific lives.
“Our goal has always been to find the roots of the wide gender gap in Indian academia,” the pair says.
Since the launch of their website www.thelifeofscience.com in February 2016, they have interviewed over 100 women scientists and published reports every week.
“Along the way,” they continue, “we encountered lots of inspiring stories of women breaking stereotypes. Many of these were under a subtext of disturbing realities that need to be addressed urgently.“
Their reports have been widely read, syndicated and acclaimed and they even won the Laadli Media Award for Gender Sensitivity in 2017.
Now these women aim to write two books based on their journeys – one for a general audience and the other for children. Book 1 will be a travelougue through India, rooted in their journalistic findings and oral history – conversations that took place in labs, the women they met and stories of struggle. They hope to inspire the next generation of women scientists. Book 2 on the other hand will be an anthology for children on women scientists of India, with peppy illustrations and interesting snippets.
While both books have found great publishers, the journalists need to spend at least 12 months on research, writing and collaborating with an artist to create these books for which they are looking for contributions.