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06 of May 2014 Age: 4 yrs

Role of Female Researchers in Saph-Pani

There are about 30 % women working in Saph Pani at different levels, be it coordination, work package leadership, data generation; modelling etc.

In the course of the project, so far three meetings have been organized specifically for the female researchers in the different work packages of the project. The goal of these meetings was not only to establish a good network between the female researchers in the different levels within the project, but also to discuss issues that might arise for female researchers working in the field of hydrogeology and water science in India and in Europe. A further idea was to enable young female scientists to identify and exchange experience with female role models, i.e. experienced researchers in relevant positions in science and education.

The first meeting was more formal, starting with an introduction among the researchers. It was attended by 12 junior and senior researchers and members of the Saph Pani project. The main point of concern was the problems faced by women in pursuing their career as well as family life. Both in India and in Europe many women feel they need to choose between the two. Showing that the experienced female researchers also had children revealed that this is not necessarily so. The discussions also highlighted that women do face more issues than male counterparts for working in the field. It bought up a suggestion for not going to field works all alone, be in India or Europe and not to be afraid to request support.

The second meeting was held in Berlin at the Freie Universität Berlin in May 2013. In addition to 8 mainly European researchers the university’s womens’ officer participated as a guest. Discussions were mainly on how gender mainstreaming is put into practice at the different involved institutions.

The third meeting was planned with the major aspects highlighting the future possibilities and pursuing the career in same field, either leading to doctoral degrees or post-doctoral opportunities. An important aspect of the due authorship in the research articles raised all the participants to another level. The points written in the consortium agreement of Saph Pani, safeguards the due authorship rights of female researchers in the project, thus giving them the credit for the work done.

Even though working in field is not easy for women in Indian scenario, all the female researchers agree that it is an important aspect of their work and should not be neglected. Different strategies are applied to achieve the targets, either being a good manager and getting the work done by subordinates or to build trustful relationships with other researchers to support one another in the field. A useful idea is also to encourage junior female students to participate in field work in order to empower them and make them feel comfortable.


Two more meetings of the female researcher network are planned for the duration of the project, but we hope that the network will continue to exist also after the completion of the project.


Female researchers of Saph Pani at the Meeting in Mumbai (Nov. 2013)