Scientific writing workshop for women held in city

Manasi Saraf Joshi
Monday, 14 January 2019

Manjula Rao, Director, Higher Education and Society, India, British Council, said, “British Council and IISER Pune are supporting young women to pursue alternative careers in science journalism and science administration in an effort to retain women in science."

PUNE: Suchibrata Borah, who is a Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, believes that by taking up science journalism as a career, she would be able to help her native people in Assam to a take step towards science.

Vejata Raghuram, research scholar, National Institute of Industrial Engineering, feels that many times misleading reports are circulated and there is a need for awareness among the public.

And thus she wants to pursue science writing.

Both of them are among the women scientists from the field of STEM (Science, Technology, Education or Math) who attended the workshop in science journalism organised jointly by British Council in partnership with IISER (Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research).

Apparently, women constitute 46 per cent of the 33.3 million young people in tertiary education in India, and about 40 per cent of undergraduates in science, with engineering coming a close second.

Manjula Rao, Director, Higher Education and Society, India, British Council, said, “British Council and IISER Pune are supporting young women to pursue alternative careers in science journalism and science administration in an effort to retain women in science. Promoting and supporting women in science is a priority for both UK and Indian governments. This programme was developed as an outcome of a policy discussion between the British Council and the Department of Science and Technology in 2014 and is funded by the Newton Bhabha Fund.”

“Science writing is a duty and people should know about this fact. Such workshops are useful to understand the writing and recognise the audience,” said Vejata, while for Suchibrata back in North East, superstitions still rule and people are far away from the outside world. 

“It is very essential to connect them with this outside world. And writing is one medium. I want to write in regional as well as in the English language for better understanding of science. My mother, who was a school teacher, told me that education is not just for earning,” said Suchibrata.

“I had attended the first workshop and I learnt about interviews, reviews and style, and now through this workshop, I have come in contact with a group of people who write in both English and regional languages. They write books in science in regional languages for students from standard 6th to 10th,” she added. 

Meanwhile, the programme works in a range of significant areas such as improving STEM education programmes, providing overseas Ph.D. placements, linking researchers and research institutions and training to women scientists. Last year, British Council gave 100 scholarships to women for STEM studies in the UK and has announced similar scholarships for 2019 as well.

Over 15 participants participated in the workshop.

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