Nothing can be done about sexual harassment at work: Nandita

Today women form almost 40% of the undergraduates in science, with engineering close second. Even among the Ph.Ds in science, about 25-30% are women.

Chennai: It has been over 10 months since two writers, Nandita Jayaraj, and Aashima Dogra, have gone ‘lab hopping’ across the country to interview women in science breaking stereotypes, but who are more unknown than their male counterparts.

Covering places like Gujarat, Trivandrum, Sikkim and Varanasi they have visited about 11 places so far, recording the interviews of 37 women contributing to the sciences on their website, ‘The Life of Science.’ Speaking about her experience, Nandita said, “We have interviewed women, most of whom are not known for their work. It has been a great experience and we would love to find stories of such women from all corners.” She added that one doubt that persists even among college students is how a woman could balance career and family life.

According to Nandita, most women face the same issues of gender inequality and hierarchy, making it more difficult for them to rise to the top, unlike men.
“Sexual harassment is ubiquitous but somehow the women we met have the same response – it exists and there is nothing one can do about it, they say,” she added. “They say that despite having a Vishaka committee in place, nothing is done about cases.”

“Among the women we interviewed, some chose to be single,” Nandita continued, adding that there is need to have a proper childcare support system in the country.

“One statement that particularly made a mark on me was by one of the scientists we interviewed, ‘To succeed in science in India, you need to be a rebel or have a strong support system.”

They plan to stop lab hopping by March next year and spend the remaining time publishing the interviews. A book on such women may be in the offing, smiles Nandita.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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