Ada Lovelace Day

Mar 24, 2009 | |

Today’s Ada Lovelace day and what a feeling to be part of it.

As a woman who works in technology herself; I have had lots of influences, some of whom are men and some women.

Talking of my favorite woman whom I admire in Technology there are a few, however my Mom has to top the list. Anjana Bhattacharya, PhD in Chemistry (synthesis and structural identification of mixed chelate nickel complexes) and currently the Deputy Director and divisional head of a government (federal) research institute, she has handled herself most elegantly.

Her job among a room full of men hasn’t always been very easy - publications, research and conservation of energy (long before it was a fad) has always remained her true passion. Born in West Bengal, India in a family with exceptional vision and endurance she was taught early by my grand parents that nothing was impossible. She has always been an exceptional student, a scholar and has seen the tough times and fought against it.

Numerous papers and years spent on mentoring and helping others, I have seen her ethics as a child, most of it unknowingly seeping within me. Her dedication to her job, her compassion and love of science has always struck me.

One of most memorable influences that I have had is in an executive meeting, while visiting her. I happened to be in vicinity and saw most it unfolding before my eyes. The only woman in the meeting, she shocked me- with her knowledge, her expertise and the fact that she was talking about chemical components and alternatives as fluently as chopping veggies. Mind blowing I thought - it changed me completely, the way I perceived her.

Now, we often discuss about work together, the problems that we come across and how we are solving them everyday as “women”. We have three women in our family now- me, mom and my sister- all in Technology and enjoying every bit of it.

So, I ask her for the interview for today for the special occasion.

Has it been hard for you being in an era in Technology when there were more men than women?

No, not really. I think much of it depends on your mentality. Being in a research oriented job women can actually contribute same or more in most cases as men. Unfortunately, sometimes there has been one or two situations where being women came as a disadvantage and I along with other women in the profession and situation raised our voice against it till actions were taken. We didn’t want to sit and watch.

I also think mental structure is very important. You should be able to respect your peers and subordinates. It doesn’t matter whether they are male or female.

How does it feel managing projects? What do you like about it?

It’s great to work with people who want to work and enjoy doing it but difficult to work with a team who are more politically inclined or doesn’t really care much about their work.

What has been the most positive factor in your professional career?

The fact that my boss years ago gave me the freedom and the support to research and work on subjects that really interested me. That brought in a lot of recognition with international paper publications and invitations which came naturally because I enjoyed what I did.

What would you advise for today’s generation of women in technology?

Work for your dreams and try to achieve them. There will be times when perhaps you feel you haven’t been able to achieve it but the secret is to not give up. Women will always face situations where your work-life balance has to be maintained. It will be a lot of hard work, sometimes really hard but if you can put in the extra effort and get through it, rest should be ok.

Thank you.

If you would like to read more on Ada Lovelace day, click here

(Picture: Mom during her PHD days)


Anonymous said...

Hi didi,

The article was amazing and truly inspirational for me being a woman in the field of technology. Ma's interview was equally motivating and a true reflection of what we have seen her as. It was an unique and very rewarding experience to read ma's interview taken by you.


Anonymous said...

Hello Ms. Bhattacharyas,

Truely exceptional and inspiring, perhaps one of the most so I have read for a long time.


Namrata said...


This is deeply inspiring. Though I am not directly from technology, I can completely relate to the challenges of a woman in such a feild. Architecture is also a feild where you dont see many women making a mark and where construction is considered to be a man thing. Though I know that things have changed today and more women like your mom have worked their way upwards steadily and strongly...

thank you for this is truly inspiring...


SIPM said...

@tapashree - Thank you sis
@jyoti- I'm so glad you liked the article, your comments have been passed on to senior bhattacharya:)
@namrata- Appreciate you stopping by to read the blog. I understand your point and all the best for your work in architecture.

Elizabeth said...

Soma, this was a great post, and your mother has had some wonderful accomplishments in her life! It was great to 'virtually' meet her.

SIPM said...

Elizabeth- Thank you very much.

Sumit Roy said...

This is a very inspiring post. Loved it. Kudos to the Ladies@Bhattacharya. Its so good to know about your mother's achievments. God bless you all.

SIPM said...

Sumit- Thank you very much.I'm glad you enjoyed the post :)