Celebrating Indian Women Pioneers Of Technology On This Women's Day
On the occasion of Woman's Day, let's celebrate early Indian women pioneers who left their impressions in the field of science and technology.
Women achievers in the field of technology are not new anymore. Every year, more women are graduating out of Indian engineering colleges as well as holding senior roles in the major tech firms in India. But there was an era when women in India were restricted from accessing technology. Blame it on social stereotypes or the stigma attached to ‘too intelligent’ women (read, won’t find a man!) Yet, some women did made a successful journey into science and technology careers.
Prof. Rajeshwari Chatterjee
When Rajeshwari Chatterjee wanted to pursue higher studies abroad in 1943, it was difficult to get a scholarship as women were not encouraged to pursue higher education. Hence she had to join as a research trainee in the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), before finally getting the scholarship she dreamt of.
After getting a Ph.D from the University of Michigan in 1953, she returned to India to become the only female faculty member at the IISc, Bangalore. Apart from teaching microwave engineering, she mentored 20 Ph.D scholars, wrote more than 100 research papers and 7 books during her three decade long career at the institute. After retiring in 1982, she was active in social programs for women’seducation and spoke out against caste and gender discrimination towards women.
Dr. Indira Hinduja
For many childless couples, the successful creation of test tube babies in 1986, opened up many possibilities. In 1986, owing to her in-depth research on human in-vitro fertilisation, Dr. Indira Hinduja was able to successfully ‘create’ the test tube baby, Harsha.
She also pioneered the Gamete Intra Fallopian Transfer (GIFT) method of in-vitro fertilisation in India, and developed the egg donation methods so as to help women having menopause or infertility issues. Currently she is doing extensive research on embryonic stem cells. She has been awarded the Padma Shri in 2011 for her contribution to assisted reproductive technologies.
Taking inspiration from these women achievers and many others, we women needs to essay more active roles in technical fields. Owing to various lifestyle choices, women are likely to change the direction of their careers to business management or marketing, but this leaking pipeline needs to be rectified.
Let this International Women's Day be a reminder that in this decade, it’s okay to push ourselves and our daughters to follow our dreams – whether those be to become a pilot or an engineer or a scientist.