Rukhmabai fellowship Stories of women in stem

The series features inspiring stories about accomplished Indian women in STEM, written by women journalists from India.

Rukhmabai fellowship 2022 We're thrilled to
announce the Fellows!

It’s official!  We were blown away by the submissions we received from incredible Indian women makers and writers from all over India, and we’re thrilled to announce our three fellows!

Receive a grant of

₹35000

The Rukhmabai Fellowship offers a grant of Rs.35,000 to Indian woman journalists for covering stories that chronicle the journey and accomplishments of Indian women who are working in fields of STEM. 

We are currently accepting applications from women journalists/writers only. #womeninartsforwomeninscience.

Last year, in 2020, we had chosen two Rukhmabai Fellows.
This year, we are going to award the fellowship to the three most deserving applicants.

Who can participate

Indian Nationals

Over 21 years of age

Studying or pursuing journalism

Stories From Rukhmabai Edition 2

Dr Harini Nagendra: Ecologist by profession, writer by passion

By Nita Shashidharan

The director of the Research Centre and the Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability at Azim Premji University, Harini has been leading research on land change and sustainability issues of forests, lakes, and cities in India and globally.

Wired to think differently: How determination can turn disability into asset

By Sahana Sitaraman

Despite having profound hearing loss from birth, Dr Mahita Jarjapu never let anything, or anyone, stop her from pursuing her dreams. Today, she works in the US as a scientist addressing questions in immunology.

The sky is everyone’s laboratory

By Priyamvada Kowshik

Astrophysicist Prajval Shastri is equally preoccupied with her efforts to make the discipline of physics more inclusive, as she is with her studies on black holes

BMC's first woman director, Archana Achrekar builds an inclusive legacy

By Poorvi Gupta

From delayed promotions to men who refused to take orders, Archana Achrekar has fought several gender biases and paved the way for more women employees at the municipal corporation.

How this army doctor realised that kitchen is a battlefield for most rural women

By Rina Mukherji

From Maharashtra’s villages to Indo-Pak borders, Dr Monica Barne’s work in medicine has taken her many places. But over the past two decades, her contribution to creating awareness on pulmonary diseases remains the pinnacle of her work.

Despite progress, fieldwork remains a stumbling block for Indian women in science​

By Sharmila Vaidyanathan

Women in the industry elucidate the slew of challenges they face while conducting research on field and how science is still perceived as a man’s world

Professor Vidita Vaidya: of being resilient and the science of resilience

By Saloni Mehta

She leads her life and undertakes her scientific endeavour— both with an incredible curiosity, occasional struggles, an honesty, and a remarkable fighting spirit

Must Watch Stories of women in stem

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About Rukhmabai Fellowship

The Rukhmabai Fellowship was first launched in 2020 in honour of one of India’s first practising female doctors. It seeks to recognise Indian women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).

Rukhmabai was a feminist icon in the British era who went against the conventions when she refused to move into her marital home and contested a historic,, legal battle for her rights, which eventually led to the enactment of the Age of Consent Act, 1891. After the dissolution of her marriage, Rukhmabai continued her education and went on to pursue a career in medicine. She served as the chief medical officer of the Women’s Hospital in Surat.

Rukhmabai’s grit and determination to realise her potential is an inspiration for millions of girls and young women in India who face multiple hurdles when it comes to accessing education. Pursuing science and related fields is especially challenging, given the deeply embedded biases in society, gender stereotypes, financial constraints, lack of early childhood exposure, and opportunities and so on.

At 101Reporters, we believe that awareness about the struggles and achievements of women role models in the STEM fields will encourage girls and young women to dream big and steer them to take up the sciences. We hope to bring stories that will inspire, provoke and convince more women to take up STEM. And we want to tell these stories through the words of women journalists.

Stories From Rukhmabai Edition 1

Holding space as a lesbian trans woman in STEM

By Aisiri Amin​

Dr Mani recalls how her early days in academia, where she faced exclusion and daily microaggressions on account of her trans identity, shaped her research style.

“If you are the only woman in the room, so what?”

By Damayanti Datta

Technologist, inventor, innovator, entrepreneur, Geetha Manjunath, harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to detect lurking disorders—from breast cancer to COVID-19.

Calling out gender bias in STEM

By Aisiri Amin

From very early on, Dr Vaishnavi Ananthanarayanan became aware of the passive yet glaring ways in which women in academia were being held back. So she co-founded BiasWatchIndia to bring in some accountability.

Addressing Gender Disparities in
STEM

By Aisiri Amin

A lowdown on the implicit and explicit biases that follow women from school to the lab, its impact on the individual and the community and some solutions that need to be actioned to make science a safe space.

She walks into the wild to tend to the beasts

By Varsha Singh

To get to the tigers, elephants and leopards, Dr Aditi Sharma, senior veterinarian and wildlife health specialist at the Rajaji Tiger Reserve, had to first traverse the unforgiving world of men.

“For me, it’s all been about the love of science.”

By Damayanti Datta

Scientist and entrepreneur, Jugnu Jain, has set up one of the most ambitious projects of 21st century biomedical sciences in India – biobanking – that promises a new paradigm in our war on dreaded diseases

Sticks and stones may break my bones but...

By Shuchita Jha

‘Lady geologist’ Debjani Raychaudhuri never allowed the harsh realities of field work to deter her from exploring and mapping the most remote corners of the country.

The good fight: Battling prejudices and parasites

By Rina Mukerji

Overcoming patriarchy and entrenched gender roles, Dr Dipika Sur has carved a niche for herself in medical research, heading several critical epidemiological studies on diseases afflicting countries like India.

Amidst the conflict, a conservationist bats for biodiversity

By Hirra Azmat

Mehreen Khaleel believes in the importance of educating children on nature conservation as she tackles hurdles posed by lack of funds and conceptualises women’s role in furthering the cause

Rural women create niche brand in LED lighting

By Varsha Singh

Kamalpreet Kaur’s entrepreneurial venture in rural Uttarakhand is training housewives to become electrical engineers.

 

The journey of ‘Stork Sister’: Pioneering a community-conservation movement

By Priyanka Shankar

Dr Purnima Devi Barman grew up around the dull grey-feathered Greater Adjutant Stork, a ‘bad omen’ bird with a rather ill-favoured look. But slowly she taught her community to accept and conserve the endangered species.

The scientist revolutionising paddy cultivation in Kashmir

By Safeena Wani

Combining her expertise in paddy varieties and her background in incorporating weather forecasts in cultivation, agricultural scientist Dr Raihana Kanth is bringing about real change in how agriculture is practised in the Valley.

Why

The Rukhmabai Fellowship for Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) is named in honour of one of India’s first practising female doctors. Rukhmabai went against the conventions of her era when she refused to move to her marital home, contesting a historic, legal battle for her rights, which eventually led to the enactment of the Age of Consent Act, 1891. After the dissolution of her marriage, Rukhmabai continued her education and went on to pursue a career in medicine. She served as the chief medical officer of the Women’s Hospital in Surat.

Rukhmabai’s grit and determination to realise her potential is an inspiration for millions of girls and young women in India who face multiple hurdles when it comes to accessing education. Pursuing science and related fields is especially challenging given the deeply embedded biases in society, gender stereotypes, financial constraints, lack of early childhood exposure and opportunities and so on.

Only 3% of women in India enroll to get a PhD in science and 6% opt for a PhD in Engineering and Technology, according to a 2018-19 survey by the Ministry of Education. Women account for only 14% of the total scientists, engineers, technologists in research institutions.

At 101Reporters, we believe that awareness about the struggles and achievements of women role models in the STEM fields will encourage girls and young women to dream big and steer them to take up the sciences. We hope to bring stories that will inspire, provoke and convince more women to take up STEM. And we want to tell these stories through the words of women journalists.

If you have any questions regarding the application, please contact:

 editor@101reporters.com

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About 101Reporters

101Reporters is a network of freelance journalists across India. Our objective is to give mainstream exposure to grassroots journalists and help them bring untold stories to light.nFounded in October 2015, our network now has close to 2,500 reporters across the length and breadth of the country. This network feeds our operations as a boutique news agency as well as a publishing platform; the latter ensures that every important story that comes our way sees the light of the day. You can read more about us here