The 105-year-old Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has got its first woman director. Dhriti Banerjee has been appointed as the 18th director of the ZSI, one of the premier organisations involved in taxonomic studies of fauna. Last week, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet "approved the proposal for appointment of Dr Dhriti Banerjee, scientist E, Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) as director."
Banerjee is an entomologist with expertise in Diptera. She spearheaded the ZSI faunal information system, multi-dimensional platform housing information, collections, spatial and temporal data as well as genetics and molecular information about the fauna species.
'My Appointment An Indication That Women Scientists Are Being Taken Seriously'
She told The Hindu that when she joined the institute in the late 1990s, the number of women scientists at the ZSI was about 24 per cent.
"This has considerably increased and reached 40 per cent under the encouragement of the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change," she added.
She said that her appointment is an indication that women scientists are being taken seriously by policymakers. Banerjee pointed out that women are blessed with the unique power to strike a balance between work and family. An alumnus of Presidency College (now Presidency University), Kolkata, Banerjee Dhriti has worked on 15 scientific projects and has around 95 scientific publications in peer-reviewed international and national journals to her credit.
"Our objective will also be to render help in the process of conservation of our faunal diversity so that we can attain the goals of sustainable development," said Banerjee.
Banerjee said that today nearly 20 per cent of the new species discovered are by woman scientists. It was only in 1949 that the institute appointed its first women scientist Mira Mansukhani.