The people on the calendar were outsourced from Life of Science’s 365 Indian Women in STEM project, which ran through 2021.
Every year since 2018, Life of Science, an initiative that started as a blog in 2016 to chronicle Indian women in science, has published a calendar featuring them. For the 2022-2023 timeline, the team expanded the scope to include 50 women, non-binary and gay people, possibly reflecting the growth of Life of Science itself – the blog has become a platform. science media, with the dynamic team growing from two women to freelancers, including scientists, science graduates, artists, journalists and more. “We all benefit from being included in what we think of as science and scientists. When we open our eyes to how STEM research works, you get to know the importance of the work that doctoral students, lab technicians, and more do. When we read articles about scientists cited in the media, we have to recognize that much of what they say is taken from the collaborative work being done by their students, ”says Nandita Jayaraj, one of the co-founders of Life of Science.
“When we urged people to be more open in appointing people, we got so many nominations of students and technical officers,” she adds. The nominations she is referring to were for the 365 Indian Women in STEM, a Life of Science digital initiative that ran until 2021, where people could nominate their science peers. “With these nominations, we were able to highlight a woman in STEM every day of the year. The idea was to prove how easy it can be to find women experts in fields and that there is no excuse for “manuals”, “manferences” and under-representation in rewards. persist in Indian science today, ”says Nandita. And the folks on this year’s edition of the Calendar are from that same project that received over 400 nominations, making it the most ambitious and diverse in Life of Science to date.
“Because of the narrow definitions of science, we end up ignoring many types of contributions,” says Nandita. “We thought each page would feature a group of scientists who worked in roles that fit into a certain science ecosystem. We didn’t want to focus on individual narratives to show the collaborative spirit of science.
They also decided to broaden the definition of “science” – the women, transgender and non-binary people on the calendar are working on “extremely diverse but interconnected topics ranging from public health to informatics, to neurodivergency to nature, from algebra to astronomy, and much more, “says Nandita.” We consider any kind of research or critical thinking to be science. We don’t discriminate based on situation of the person presented in his career.
The result of such an approach has been an encouraging and uplifting chain reaction – many professors, for example, have nominated their students, including undergraduates working in research. “It was a trickle down effect, we got to know a lot of names that we wouldn’t have otherwise. There was a lot of goodwill that manifested in this project. People who want to stay in control often say that in seeking to include diverse people like transgender and non-binary people in science, we are forced to reduce the quality of speech. However, this project shows that we only have to gain by being inclusive and diverse, ”says Nandita.
The calendar, which is available for pre-order, was also designed by artist Ipshita Thakur, who is also a non-binary person. Some people on the schedule include ICMR-NIV director Priya Abraham and community medicine doctor Aqsa Shaikh, who is also trans. The calendar will be released on February 11, which is International Day of Women and Girls in Science, and will run from February 2022 to February 2023. Each calendar page will also have a QR code, which people can scan to read. on the work of the people featured on Life of Science. Pre-order the calendar here.
Photos: Ipshita Thakur