Women shouldn’t shy away from seeking support it’s impossible to do everything alone

Mumbai, February 23, 2024: In a key session at Ideas of India Summit 3.0, women achievers gained central focus. “Growing up with techno-bureaucrat and mathematician parents, education was ingrained as a priority in my life from the start. My father had a remarkable talent for explaining the physics of everyday occurrences, which instilled in me a deep curiosity and appreciation for the world around me,” said Nandini Harinath, Deputy Director, Spacecraft Operations Area, ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network, ISRO, sharing her experience of growing up the ranks from Junior Engineer at ISRO to leading major space missions such as Mangalyaan and Chandrayaan-2

On the inaugural day of ABP Network’s flagship event, the ‘Ideas of India’ Summit 3.0, leading women intellectuals and achievers in STEM fields joined together to explore the theme ‘Women in STEM: Working in the Trenches, Reaching for the Stars’, shedding light on how women defy all challenges experienced in the modern-day workforce and their road to success.

Nandini Harinath also shared the importance of family support, teamwork, and personal well-being. “Juggling the demands of family and a career in the space industry has often felt like navigating an obstacle course. However, I firmly believe in the power of teamwork. Throughout my journey, I have learned the importance of seeking support from those around me. No accomplishment is achieved in isolation, and leaning on my family and society for assistance has been crucial during times of need”, she added.

Nandini Harinath has been an indispensable asset to ISRO, with her dedication and expertise in space science. Explaining the future of India’s space exploration efforts, she said, “With the emergence of private players in the sector, the possibilities are endless. I envision India taking a leading role in space travel, not only for scientific advancement but also for the profound impact it could have on shaping our future as a society.”

Discussing her journey and the rise of women scientists at ISRO, Dr. Nigar Shaji, Project Director, Aditya L-1 Mission, ISRO, said, “Since school, I have believed in pursuing the uncommon path. My parents, particularly my father, a math graduate turned agricultural specialist, encouraged me. At ISRO, there is no glass ceiling, passion is supported. For women, balancing work, family, and personal life is essential, with health as a priority. As far as the space industry in concern, the Aditya mission is crucial for understanding the sun and space weather, ensuring Earth’s protection. Leading the world in the space industry should be our aim. Visibility for women in STEM is vital; education must be engaging and inclusive from grassroots.”

Elaborating on the vital role played by women in STEM to break the glass ceiling and drive India’s growth, Prof. (Dr.) Annapurni Subramaniam, FASc., FNASc., Director, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, said, “It is important to be happy with yourself, as a woman we have multiple roles to play and one cannot bend to all requirements, there has to be a distinction. As such, there is limited conversation about women’s health. It is important to create a framework at home, where the support can be asked from the family and traditional roles can be given a push back. The Indian Institute of Astrophysics observatory in Kodaikanal is celebrating its 125 years, which is capturing Sun’s data. We have a night-time observatory in Ladakh, 2500 metres above the sea level. Our capabilities in astronomy are well established, thus India is being looked at as a support and resource in important missions for ground-based and space-based. India is also a major partner in two important projects in gravitational wave direction- LIGO, and Square Kilometer Array to look at the universe at very early stages.”

The ABP Network’s ‘Ideas of India’ Summit 3.0 spotlighting the ‘The People’s Agenda’ brought a confluence of ideas and ideators to a common platform celebrating the country’s people and its plurality. The two-day summit hosted policymakers, cultural ambassadors, industry experts, celebrities, business leaders, economists, and leading luminaries to delve into the fundamental ideas of liberty, justice, equality, and diversity that define India, its society, culture, and politics. The meaningful deliberations on diverse topics had the brightest minds across sectors providing insights about the nation’s trajectory and its journey to become Viksit Bharat.