Women's Day: These lady medicos break barriers, prove forensic science is for her too
On International Women's Day, mid-day speaks to three women who have survived against all the odds to thrive in the male-dominated field of forensic science
Dr Prajita Vedpathak with her husband and son
At a time when Indian women are walking shoulder to shoulder with men in most workplaces, they continue to be a minority in the field of forensic science. For Women's Day, mid-day spoke to the handful of women working against all odds to succeed in this male dominated branch of science.
The first is Dr Neetu Tripathi, who has been conducting autopsies for the past five years and has performed more than 500 so far. But the journey hasn't been a piece of cake. "When I took up this branch of science, my relatives often asked me why I chose it, as it involves dissecting bodies. People around me have been speculative about the nature of my job because I have to work with the police and also rush to the hospital at night to conduct post mortems," she said.
Dr Priyanka Patil with her father and brother
Tripathi said she decided to continue working in this field to help provide justice to people in criminal and medico-legal cases. Currently, Mumbai has only two female forensic experts in its four major government-run hospitals and 16 peripheral hospitals. After over five years, only two female medicos have taken admission to pursue an MD in forensic science at the Grant medical college.
But the taboo associated with it keeps women away, according to Dr Priyanka Patil, who is one of the two female MD forensic science students said, "There is a greater need for female forensic experts in cases of rape and molestation, and for conducting post-mortems of women. But medicos pull back from this profession due to the taboo and stigma associated with it. I was able to pick the subject for my MD due to the support of my father."
Dr Prajita Vedpathak, the second female MD forensic science student, was encouraged by her husband to pursue her dreams. "Sometimes, we have to push our boundaries and think out of our comfort zone. If I can do this after getting married and having a child, then any other woman can do it," she said.
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