The recent launch of record breaking 104 satellites into the space, all in one go, has unanimously showcased the strength of women scientists who have Broken all the taboos and the underlying stereotypes by playing significant role in the mission. India and in a way the world, very recently overwhelmingly witnessed the twin success of highlighting the courage of women and the success of our unparallel space mission.
Not only, every citizen of the country can feel proud to be a part of India who has broken all the records with the recent accomplishment of making the dream come true, but for being a country where not only women participate in fields like education, art and other but also for them to be a significant part of ISRO, which is considered to be the third most powerful space agencies across the world. Each and every person who has been a part of this mission has in a way made us all proud! But the extraordinary courage of women has been collectively accepted by each one of us. Be it any project taken up by ISRO, women have played crucial role in getting it completed.
From the triumph of the great MARS mission to the launch of 104 satellites, women, with their unparallel strength to manage has adroitly bolstered ISRO and made the path an achievable one. Having been aware of the fact that, women have to work diligently at home apart from what they have to accomplish at the work place, this recent achievement compels us all to solute their courage. We will therefore, try to highlight the achievement of ISRO and women at ISRO in a nutshell.
Ritu Karidhal, she is one of the inspiration for many women, who transformed her dreams into a reality by making her dream true by becoming a scientist from a sky watcher. She has been the Deputy Operation director of ISRO during the great Mars Orbiter Mission. Her love for the outer space was explicit in the very early age when she used to wonder what could be the moon’s size, why it is that it does not stops changing its shape. She has been a keen sky watcher right from her childhood and she transformed her keenness into her career.
Her journey is not less than an inspirational anecdote!! Out of curiousness, during her college days she would go through Newspapers to get through every detail about ISRO and NASA projects and she collected all the clippings of the Newspaper to find out every minute detail about the space world. And right after getting her PG degree, she took up a job at ISRO as a space scientist.
Years after being a part of this really prestigious organization, she worked on projects like Mars Mission which were great game changers for the country. She was the one who worked on conceptualising the autonomous brain of the space craft to Mars Mission and ensure its execution so as to allow it to function and defeat its malfunctioning on its own. During the last 10 months of the mission, she had to make sure that the work does not get hampered at the same time she had to help her kids complete their homework. So, she would do her work from midnight till 4 am with whatever stamina left. She has, with her power of perseverance and diligence proved that women can achieve it all!!
Anuradha T.K is the most senior female scientist of ISRO and she has been there with the team ISRO since 1982 which was a time when there were only few women engineers. She has always worked on the idea that, the gender issues cannot stop women from accomplishing their dreams. She has worked as a Geosat programme director at ISRO. She was very inquisitive about the space and how it exits from the very early age of nine. At the time when, Neil Armstrong with the launch of Apollo, landed on the surface of moon, she, out of her interest wrote a poem on “man landing on the surface of the moon”, which is the proof her nosiness.
She believes that, it’s a wrong belief that science and maths is not the cup of tea of women. She was the kind of person who did not like the subjects which involved cramming and by hearting. When she joined ISRO, there were only few women, and everyone knew those handfuls of women in the team. But now, almost 20-25% of the ISRO, team is filled with women employees and they no longer get any special treatment that we used to get as new joiners, she says. Now, at ISRO, gender is not considered any criterion in the whole process of recruitment, what actually matters, is how one can contribute to the organization. Despite of all theses advancement at ISRO, we are still at halfway mark as most of us are still carrying with us, the belief that women should choose the household work and make it the only priority. And a lot of work still needs to be done to change the scenario!
Minal Rohit is a B.Tech in Electronics and Communication from the Nirma Institute of Technology in Ahmedabad. She became a part of ISRO in 1999 in Bangaluru after being inspired by flight of PSLV rocket into the space which went into its way flawlessly. In her case, it was her luck that led her here, in fact she wanted to take up medicine as career but fortunately or unfortunately she missed her admission into a Dental course by just single mark which landed her into the world of engineering. During her 2004 while she was working with SAC, Bangaluru, she got an opportunity to work under the guidance of the chairman of ISRO, A.S. Kiran Kumar. She still is on contributing to the team with her enthusiasm and some of her current projects are Insat-3DS, where she is working on the metrological payloads. Insat-3DS, is being worked on, in order to replace some of the ageing Insat satellites soon and also some of the Instruments being used in Chandrayaan-II.
These are only three extraordinarily exemplary names, but there are other names which have got highlighted in past few years. Some of those revered names include Nandini Harinath, Seetha S- A PhD in Astronomy, B Codanayaguy who dedicated her life to ISRO and Lalithambika V.R.. Besides that, there are few women scientists like Pramodha Hegde and Anuradha Prakasham, who worked on the project GSAT 12 with Anuradha TK and whose name cropped up in the recent years.
It’s really strange that in a country like India where, women like the one at ISRO are born, it is still believed that, women should focus on the household work more than what they want to achieve in their career and those who fulfil this criterion are only considered “a women with values” and in a way eligible for talking up a family successfully. People need to learn from this recent development and the role women have played, that we need to push them forward and they will help us reach to the heights we may not have ever had imagined.
Praise her to raise her and she will make the world a pleasant place to live in same as she makes heaven in her lap for her child!!