Science journalists, Aashima Dogra and Nandita J, have recently started a crowdfunding campaign to fund their project–‘The Life of Science,’ a blog which aims to chronicles 52 stories of women scientists working in different fields all over India. The two friends began their journey after quitting their editorial jobs at Brainwave magazine, in February this year.
“We want to go out in the field and write science stories that are very Indian,” Dogra told SheThePeople.Tv. “Most stories about science, she said, come from abroad, as if there is no science in India. The ratio of women to men scientists in the country is skewed towards men, and many women drop out of programs before even completing their research,” she said. In fact, only 14.3 per cent of science researchers are women, according to a recent report by the World Economic Forum.
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“The project aims to talk about females who have beaten the odds. Their stories will serve as role models for other aspiring women scientists,” Dogra said.
“We realise we are a part of the science communication movement and the feminist movement in India. We are very happy to work towards equality and the science scene in the country.” Dogra told shethepeople.tv.
Their blog is populated with many interesting stories. They have covered a spider scientist, an animation professor, a cancer biologist, and a particle physicist, among many others.
#ThisDayThatMonth we intro'd you to spider scientist Elizabeth (mindboggling to think that it's been 6 months!) https://t.co/sS8V1tnM8K pic.twitter.com/LfTVEXTvk6
— The Life of Science (@labhopping) September 28, 2016
Our interview with cancer biologist Mayurika from IISER Pune on @thewire_in https://t.co/Pz436W0K2v pic.twitter.com/pTValzVbMV
— The Life of Science (@labhopping) September 19, 2016
When they first started out, they did not strategise on how to go about finding stories and were more exploratory in their approach, said Dogra. About a month ago, they realized that many of their subjects happened to be in the field of biological sciences. Now they want to focus on women in disciplines they haven’t covered and go out of the big cities, to places they have not been to.
Uncovering these stories hasn’t always been easy, Dogra said. Government institutes are heavily regulated and hard to penetrate. In fact, researchers have been advised not to talk to the media because there have been instances where the media has misrepresented scientific facts. This is why good science communication is needed, Dogra who has studied science communication at Warwick, argued. The government’s reluctance to let the media in is ironic because, the Department of Science and Technology has been calling for more science communication, and media reportage of science, while choking the sources–the researchers.
The two women say that they invested their own savings into the project, which they have now run out of. That’s the reason they started the crowd funding campaign. So far, they have attained 30 percent of their goal.
After the project, they might write a book and even convert some stories into science comics, said Dogra.
One can contribute to this commendable project here