Written By: UMA Editorial Team |

Published on: February 15, 2024

As the sun rises, painting a golden hue across the lush landscape, Ayurveda awakens our senses to the rhythms of nature and the essence of life itself. With its roots deeply embedded in the serene expanse of the Indian subcontinent, Ayurveda has been nurtured and refined over centuries, earning its title as the “Science of Life.”

In this blog, we pay tribute to the profound contributions of female Ayurvedic practitioners and Scientists, whose impact is as powerful as the most exquisite blend of aroma-therapeutic oils. Their intuitive understanding of the delicate balance of elements and their skillful application of nature’s healing rhythm has played an instrumental role in Ayurveda’s evolution, just like the sacred herbs they expertly employ.

Furthermore, we delve into the significance of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, established by the General Assembly in 2015. This day serves as a reminder of the crucial role that women play in the fields of science and technology. We explore the importance of promoting gender equality and creating opportunities for women to thrive in these realms.

The Symbolic Colors of International Women’s Day:

Purple, green, and white are the symbolic colors of International Women’s Day. Purple represents justice and loyalty, while green symbolizes hope. White, although controversial, represents purity. These colors originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the UK in 1908.

A Paradigm Shift in Ayurveda:

The entry of women into the traditionally male-dominated field of Ayurveda in India since the 1980s marks a significant social and historical event. Their increasing participation challenges the long-standing control of certain castes and medical lineages by men. However, women’s overall workforce participation in science remains low. This article explores the impact of women’s work in science and Ayurveda on regional identity and the global market, shedding light on the challenges they face and the resources they mobilize for success.

Promoting Women and Girls in Science:

Celebrated on February 11, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science aims to foster equal access and participation in scientific pursuits. UNESCO and UN-Women collaborate with institutions and civil society partners to achieve this goal. Gender equality is a global priority for UNESCO, and empowering young girls and supporting their education is crucial for development and peace.

The Need for Gender Equality in STEM:

Despite the critical importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields to national economies, achieving gender equality in STEM remains a significant challenge. This blog underscores the necessity to address this disparity and emphasizes the benefits of diversity in research, which brings fresh perspectives, talent, and creativity.

2024 Campaign Theme: Inspire Inclusion:

The theme for the IWD 2024 campaign is “Inspire Inclusion.” By inspiring others to understand and value the inclusion of women, we can create a better world. When women themselves feel included, they experience a sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment.

Key Facts:

  • Globally, only 33.3% of researchers are women, and women make up just 35% of students in STEM fields.
  • In 2016, only 30% of countries with available data achieved gender parity among researchers.
  • Female researchers receive smaller grants compared to their male counterparts. Moreover, although women represent 33.3% of all researchers, only 12% are members of national science academies.
  • In cutting-edge fields like artificial intelligence, women comprise just 22% of professionals.
  • Despite a shortage of skills in technology-related fields, only 28% of engineering graduates and 40% of computer science and informatics graduates are women.
  • Female researchers often face shorter, less lucrative careers. Their work is underrepresented in renowned journals, and they are frequently overlooked for promotions.

Gloria Steinem, a world-renowned feminist, journalist, and activist, once eloquently expressed, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist, nor any one organization, but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” On International Women’s Day, let us embrace this sentiment and strive to make a positive difference for women everywhere.

Let’s also honor the remarkable achievements of some trailblazing women:


Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra:

An esteemed Ayurvedic health coach, who specializes in supporting women who experience digestive illnesses, gut issues, and food cravings through transformative health coaching. As our very own Ayurvedic expert, she believes that achieving balance in our Agni, or digestive system, is often the crucial first step towards overall well-being. With her extensive experience as a certified Ayurveda Practitioner, she has successfully helped countless individuals suffering from gut imbalances and chronic pain.



Kadambini (Basu) Ganguly:

She was the first female graduate of the British Empire and became one of South Asia’s first female physicians trained in Western medicine. Overcoming barriers, Ganguly gained admission to Calcutta Medical College in 1884, received further training in Scotland, and established a successful medical practice in India. She also broke barriers by becoming the first woman speaker in the Indian National Congress.



Dr. Indira Hinduja: 

She holds the distinction of being the first Indian woman to deliver a test tube baby on August 6, 1986. Additionally, she pioneered the Gamete Intra Fallopian Transfer (GIFT) technique, which resulted in the birth of India’s first GIFT baby on January 4, 1988. As an esteemed gynecologist, obstetrician, and infertility specialist based in Mumbai, Hinduja developed an oocyte donation technique for menopausal and premature ovarian failure patients. She gained recognition for delivering the country’s first baby using this technique on January 24, 1991.



Kalpana Chawla:  

Born on March 17, 1962, Chawla made history as the first Indian-American astronaut and the first Indian woman in space. Serving as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator, she embarked on her first spaceflight on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997. Chawla’s exceptional contributions earned her the accolade of being called a “terrific astronaut.” Tragically, on February 1, 2003, the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over central Texas, claiming the lives of all seven crew members, including Chawla.



Vanitha Muthayya, Ritu Karidhal, and Swati Mohan:

For the first time in India’s history, two women scientists from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) led the country’s second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2. Vanitha Muthayya served as the project director, while Ritu Karidhal assumed the role of the mission director. And Swati Mohan played a crucial role in ensuring the spacecraft’s precise orientation throughout its voyage to Mars and its successful landing on the planet’s surface. Their leadership and expertise propelled India’s space exploration endeavors to new heights.


The International Day of Women and Girls in Science reminds us of the critical role women play in science and technology communities. It emphasizes the need to strengthen their participation and promote gender equality in these fields. Let’s celebrate the achievements of women in science and inspire future generations to pursue their passions without limitations.