Social and patriarchal norms in the last decade maintained an unfortunate era where girls were not allowed access to education and work. As we look deeper in the story, occupational sorting still keeps away numerous women from achieving their dreams. It is a stereotypical thinking in which certain professions are believed to be successful for a particular gender. According to the International Labour Organisation, the arena of science and technology constitute only 14 percent of Indian women population, owing to this belief.
Considering the difficult circumstances, it is understandable how women in the past decades battled to grasp a powerful identity for themselves. Such is the tale of Manjit Kaur, a research associate at CERN (The Central European organisation for Nuclear Research) hailing from Chandigarh who was one of the lucky few to be a part of the team that discovered ‘God Particle’.
Hailing from a family which gave primary importance to education but from a society that killed girl children in the wombs, Kaur’s childhood was scattered with hindrances. A brilliant and passionate student, she bagged a scholarship from the Council of Scientific and Industrial research (CSIR) to complete her PhD in Physics from Punjab University in the 70s . She became a successful professor and her life took a turn when she was invited by CERN, who were impressed with her research at a conference in Munich, Germany.
In 2013, Englert and Peter W Higgs were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the Higgs Particle, also known as the ‘God’s Particle’- a boson particle. The team behind achieving this landmark constituted of four teachers and ten students, one of them being the quite deserving Manjit Kaur. Kaur has also worked on Compact Muon Solenoid and study of electron-proton interactions at LEP. “The journey from Punjab University to CERN was not easy,” she said. “I still want to keep on working on as many projects I can.”
Instead of quitting, Kaur smashed all stereotypes and pushed her limitations to achieve her dreams, becoming an ideal inspiration for all little scientists out there.