Please note that the Rukhmabai Fellowship has been discontinued. It will live on in spirit through the Rukhmabai Grants.

Rukhmabai Fellowship 2022 Meet Our
2022 Fellows!

Priyamvada Kowshik

Priyamvada Kowshik is an independent multimedia journalist documenting climate change and its impact on communities. She writes on health, food systems and agriculture, with a gender lens. 

Saloni Mehta

Saloni is an amateur writer focussed on covering the stories and works of historically under-represented voices in STEM, especially those of women. She believes that her experience as a math major from a liberal arts school couldn’t have been put to a better use.

Sahana Sitaraman

Sahana is a freelance science writer and illustrator. She is a firm believer of breaking science out of its ivory tower and contribute towards this goal by writing articles on diverse topics in life sciences. She also enjoy communicating science through her artwork. When she is not working, she can be found watching crime shows or listening to Indian fusion music.

Stories From Rukhmabai Edition 2

Space for all is Sakshi Sharma’s motto in life

By Punita Maheshwari

The 26-year-old science communicator helps people see space science in a new light by simplifying complex jargon, besides promoting gender inclusivity at the next human frontier.

Doctorate and diapers: How women navigate PhD and parenthood

By Priyamvada Kowshik

How successful they are rests heavily on enabling institutional systems, social/familial support and gender-sensitive policies

Being one of only a few: Women in IITs, IISERs

By Saloni Mehta

What happens to the women who make it to these institutes against all odds? Lack of peer groups and mentorship, compounded by sexism, make for a long struggle.

Meet five women who became entrepreneurs by choice, not by chance

By Sahana Sitaraman

Balancing both professional and personal commitments is no cakewalk. Family support and valuable mentorship have built a small pool of women leaders, but they make up only 13% of the entrepreneurs in the country.

An inclusive DIY guide to diagnosing developmental delays in children

By Priyamvada Kowshik

Dr Supriya Bhavnani’s research attempts to empower non-specialist community health workers to detect neurodevelopmental delays in young children

Promoting gender parity in science, one step at a time

By Sahana Sitaraman

A condensed matter physicist at the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Bengaluru, Prof Sumathi Rao has played an important role in making academic spaces in India more accessible to people of all identities.

Aliya Mir: A life in service of wild animals

By Sehar Qazi

A postgraduate in Mathematics, she found her true calling in rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife, besides spreading awareness on the need to tackle man-animal conflicts. She is the only female wildlife rescuer in Jammu and Kashmir

Meet India’s famous herpetologist who discovered 50 frog species

By Punita Maheshwari

Dr Sonali Garg’s journey is full of night ventures into the dense forest of the Western Ghats, Northeast India, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Outside the country, her scientific forays extend to Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand

A small town girl behind the scenes in Pfizer’s vaccine rollout

By Saloni Mehta

The Director of External Supply at biotech giant Pfizer, Poonam Mulherkar’s focus is unshakeable and her training in the production of high-standard pharmaceutical processes permeates her articulations and her actions alike.

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

Rukhmabai Fellowship 2021 Meet Our
2021 Fellows!

Aisiri Amin

Aisiri is a freelance journalist specialising in gender, culture and social justice. She is the co-founder of INKLINE, an international media website featuring solutions-focused stories.

Damayanti Datta

Damayanti specialises in storytelling that is rooted in research. She has travelled widely and reported from locations as diverse as hospitals, courts, science labs, police stations and tribal homes.

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

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.

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