Women scientists suffer due to gender gap, says writer

Women scientists suffer due to gender gap, says writer

Nandita Jayaraj is a science journalist, who decided to put her background in science to create some awareness about the scientific community in India. She partnered up with Aashima Dogra, an ex-colleague, to create the website, ‘Life of Science’ in 2016. “We started as an effort to document the life journey and contributions of women scientists in the country. It was a travelling project. We spent the first two years travelling around the country, and visiting as many institutes and laboratories as we could,” explains Nandita. The motivating factor, for them, was a need to uncover whether the male-dominated image of Indian science is because there are no women in science. “It started primarily as a science communication project; it was an attempt to convey science in accessible ways to the public. Over time we realised we needed to look at the obstacles and the gender gap, and that we couldn’t separate the scientists from the social factors,” she shares.  Recently, the duo released a children’s book ‘31 Fantastic Adventures in Science’. The book that has been illustrated by Upasana Agarwal presents the stories of thirty-one female scientists who work across fields in science from biotechnology to astrophysics. They recently concluded another project; a themed series on mental health in science academia in India. The duo is currently working on another book. “This is for a general audience. We want to focus on the reasons for the gender gap in India, the issues that exist, the movements and whether they are working or not. It is an analytic book that goes through the 200 odd stories we have collected over the years,” she adds.