Two years back India proudly stabilized its famous Mangalyan into the Mars orbit. With this India became just the fourth in the world and first in Asia to reach Mars. Importantly no nation in the world has accomplished this feat in its first attempt. Moreover India’s technology is the cheapest and yet most-advanced in the world. To achieve this, around 500 scientists of ISRO worked day and night to write a new chapter in India’s Space Programme.
Not to be forgotten, the share of Indian women scientists among the team of 500 researchers of Mars Orbiter Mission is significant. Among them ‘Mrs. Minal Sampath’ shouldered the major responsibility in capacity of ‘System Engineer’. To mark a successful beginning of Indigenous Mangalyan, Mrs. Sampath along with other researchers burnt their midnight oil stretching over 18 hours daily. Before the propulsion of India’s Mangalyan in space, Mrs. Sampath and all the researchers with her had abstained from taking any leaves, that too for over two years. During that period her son too had fallen sick. But even here she gave preference to her work. Her family too supported her in all these situations. While explaining the journey of Mangalyan, Mrs. Sampath, working as its System Engineer shared her experiences saying that she almost forgot that she is a woman.
At the accomplishment of India’s mission to Mars Mrs. Sampath with all her female colleagues working on the control panel of ISRO celebrated the joyous moment. The photographs of these celebrations went viral on social media. These women of ISRO dressed in typical Indian attire of saree and with gajras (flower strings) in their hair were applauded worldwide by everyone.
Recently, International Women’s day was celebrated. On this background of Women’s Day celebrations, two days conference was arranged for the women of ISRO at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre where these scientists earned loads of appreciation. The female researchers of ISRO participated in the conference with full enthusiasm which was themed, ‘Towards a holistic work-life balance for women’. Around 300 women delegates from all the centres of ISRO were part of the conference. While addressing the conference, Dr. K. Sivan, Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre lauded the women workforce of ISRO.
The conference revealed that an organization like ISRO that has always raised the bar of India in space sciences, has a total of 14,246 women employees. Among them, 1654 women from various centres work as ‘Engineers’ handling major responsibilities managing Vehicle Satellites, Remote Sensing, Launch Vehicle Propulsion, Spaceports, various defence mechanisms. Women researchers of ISRO have acquired multitasking abilities, balance and patience along with communication skills said Dr. Sivan.
In ISRO, System Engineer Minal Sampath, Project Director of ‘Agni-4’ Tessy Thomas, DRDO’s first woman Director J. Manjula are among those handling prime responsibility in the defence of our nation. Having lead on various fronts, these women have outshoned research. Alike them, a number of women are competently working in different sectors taking India’s glory to new heights. An honour given to the competency of ISRO’s women does not merely limit it to them but rather extends to all women proficiently working in various other fields.
Since the ancient times India is known to have respect for scholars, researchers, scientists, etc. whether men of women. During the Vedic times Lopamudra – wife of Sage Agastya, Maitreyi – wife of Sage Yadnyavalkya and Arundhati – wife of Sage Vashishtha were as respected for their knowledge and command over science. A society prospers and progresses only when knowledge is respected without any biases and differentiation. India is known to be the land of knowledge and for the respect it gives its exponents and will continue to be so.