Radio Active asked Dr. Chitra P, an India Alliance Early Career Fellow, Dept. Of Neurovirology, NIMHANS, for her vision for Women in STEM. Here is what she said.
My research work is broadly on infectious diseases and methods for detection of microorganisms that cause brain infections.
There are some immediate things that come to mind when I think of what must change in my field:
1. The Global South should dictate and decide what its research priorities are (particularly with respect to infectious diseases) and advocate for these.
2. All interview and funding panels should be intentionally, explicitly, unabashedly, unapologetically and bravely DIVERSE.
3. More women in decision-making and mentoring roles. More women in the field (in outbreak response). More women in the lab. More women invited as keynote speakers, more women head of the departments, chairpersons, institute directors. More women-only panels.
4. Science, in general, doesn’t have good (read any) mechanisms to stop bullying or check blatant misuse of power. I want that culture to be replaced by both courage and kindness. I want all young scientists particularly young women to define how they would like to be treated and demand it.
5. I want to reclaim the word ‘genius’ for women and biologists, and especially for women who are biologists.
Find Dr. Chitra on Twitter: @virology_chitra
Photos: Taken by Dr. Bhagteshwar Singh at a workshop in Malawi, held as part of a Brain Infections Global study.