International Women’s Day

In twenty-first century civilisation, most women quest for equal standing with men. On International Women’s Day, we take stock of our journey so far, thinking of and thanking the women and men who have helped along the way – be they prominent figures, family or friends – before pressing on.

In 2017, Danish Physiotherapist Dr Hanne Albert was invited to Frankfurt to give a lecture on the use of antibiotics as a treatment for Modic Back Pain. Five days before the conference, Hanne received a telephone call, advising her that she was being awarded The German Pain Prize – the highest award given for pain research. She had 5 days to prepare an honorary lecture to summarise the last ten years of her research to an audience of over 1000 conference participants.

“The Chairman of the Pain Society said that I had brought a brand new and ground-breaking treatment concept into the treatment of patient’s back pain; that I fought against all odds and resistance and continued to give lectures so that my research is now being used in clinical practice to change the life of patients. I got the longest applause lasting for several minutes and by so many people. It was completely overwhelming and a huge day in my life.”

Marie Curie was the first female scientist to be awarded prestigious prizes for her work – a Nobel Prize for physics in 1903, then a Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1911.

Marie The First  by Celia Berrell & Sukarma Rani Thareja

Madame Curie
first Polish then French.
A physicist-chemist
with questions to quench.

“The Courage of Knowledge”
a film that attests
her radioactivity
research was best.

At first, PhD, then
female professor.
Achieved when men saw
the fair-sex as lesser.

Then love-team in physics
Pierre and Marie
wed Nobel acclaim
with the name of Curie.

But tragedy struck.
Marie stood alone.
Despite Pierre’s death
her research went on.

With funding so scarce
for a woman in science
her hardships were fierce.
Down to much self-reliance.

Marie persevered
and awards ensued,
including her Nobel
prize number two!

For women in science
the first we elect
is Madame Curie
for equal respect.


A Message from Associate Professor Sukarma Rani Thareja

May each girl-child have creative potential
and scientific aptitude in her own right.
Alas, this may still be wishful thinking!
But may this hopeful message continue to ring
through our halls of science
for hardworking women
like Madame Curie.

Sukarma Rani Thareja,
Alumnus-IIT-Kanpur (1986),
Associate Professor of Chemistry-Retired,
CSJM Kanpur University, UP, India.

Recommended reading: “A Lab of One’s Ownby Patricia Fara