• Adesh Chaurasia

Unfolding the history of women's contribution to science and technology


Unfolding the history of-women's-contribution to-science-and-technology

Unfolding the history of women's contribution to science and technology


In the patriarchal society of India, women were pushed to the margins and denied access to education for centuries. This is the reason behind the low representation of women in the fields related to science and technology, together referred to as STEM.


But despite the endless challenges that women face in their everyday life, when we look at the history of our country, we will find women whose contribution to STEM has been the same as men but we have forgotten about them and nobody knows their story. Just think, can you name a woman scientist?


In this blog, I wish to bring forward these exemplary women who faced numerous obstacles in this male-dominated domain but yet managed to leave their mark by their talent and sheer dedication.


1. Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi

At a time when women were confined within the four walls of their house, Anandibai defied the norms by traveling abroad to study medicine. The tragedy that compelled Anandibai to study medicine was the death of her first child when she was just fourteen years old due to a lack of medical care.


She received her education from Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania and Drexel University College of Medicine and became the first Indian woman doctor.


2. Kamala Ranadive

Kamala Ranadive is a pioneer in the field of biology. She was working in the Indian Cancer Research Center when she got a doctorate in cytology. What makes her immensely important when it comes to STEM is her mind-blowing work in cancer research. She was the first scientist who showed that there is an association between breast cancer and heredity.


Not only that, she went on to establish Indian Women Scientists’ Association to support women researchers in their journey.


3. Ayyalasomayajula Lalitha

Today, thousands of women have successful careers in the field of engineering. But there was a time when there were only men in this field. This was the time when Lalitha decided to pursue an education in engineering.


Apart from the male domination, what added to Lalitha’s challenges was the fact that she was a widow with a child. At that time there were strict restrictions and norms imposed on widows. However, Lalitha showed the courage to achieve what she desired.


4. Janaki Ammal

Known as the first woman botanist of India, the contributions of Janaki Ammal play a significant role even today. She developed hybrid crops including several varieties of sugarcane that are grown to this date. She also used her position to encourage the preservation of the rich biodiversity of India.


A woman after whom a flower is named, Ammal was one of the greatest in her field who also received Padma Shri for her work.


5. Asima Chatterjee

Asima Chatterjee has a huge role to play when it comes to organic chemistry. Her decades-long research led to the development of anti-malarial, anti-convulsive, and chemotherapy drugs.


She was the second Indian woman after Ammal to receive a doctorate of Science from an Indian institution.


6. Anna Mani

A distinguished Indian female meteorologist and physicist, Anna Mani is known for her contribution in the area of radiation and ozone instrumentation. She devised ways in which solar energy could be harnessed and also designed an instrument to measure atmospheric ozone.


She conducted her initial research under Dr. C.V Raman and was appointed as the Deputy Director-General of the Indian Meteorological Department in the later stages of her career.


7. Indira Hinduja

A reputed obstetrician and gynecologist, Indira Hinduja is renowned for her work in gamete intrafallopian transfer technology and oocyte donation techniques. She was also honored with Padma Shri in 2011 for her significant contributions.


Ending thoughts

Turning the pages and going back in history shows us how several women fought with difficult circumstances and went against the norms of society. They did not give up on their dreams and despite the limitations, accomplished them.


These women paved the way for all the women in STEM. Celebrating their success implies celebrating all the women who take inspiration from them, overcome the myriad of challenges and succeed in making an impact in science and technology. Let us educate every girl and encourage them to take up science and work for the advancement of the globe.


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