Dhriti Banerjee has been appointed as the first Woman Director in the 105-year-old history of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), reported The Times of India.
The Zoological Survey of India was founded on 1st July 1916 by the India Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change.
It got prominence as one of the most significant intuitions for Zoological research and studies that aimed to gain knowledge and explore the fauna in the country.
With its headquarters located in Kolkata, ZSI has 16 regional centers under the environment and forests and climate change ministry.
After around three decades of its establishment, in 1949, ZSI started hiring women scientists. Mira Mansukhani was the first woman employee to take place at the premier institute, which had only seen male intellectuals and created history by doing so.
Dr. Banerjee said, “ZSI’s women scientists have been carrying out regular surveys exploring faunal diversity from the Himalayas to the deep sea, and nearly 60% of the new species discovered are by women scientists today.
In the past century, only 20% of the total scientific staff strength in ZSI was represented by women. But their scientific contributions prove that they have played a key role in strengthening the roots of ZSI.”
On Tuesday, the appointments committee of the Cabinet “approved the proposal for appointment of Dr. Dhriti Banerjee, scientist E, Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) as director …,” wrote TOI. Dr. Banerjee would be joining by next week.
In a conversation with TOI, she said, “I believe ZSI’s 100-year legacy would help me catapult the organization to greener and futuristic heights in biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.”
Dr. Banerjee had an accomplished career as a scientist researching taxonomy, zoogeography, morphology, and molecular systematics.
She has also been the coordinator of ZSI’s Digital Sequence Information Project since 2012.She commented on it, saying, “Women are blessed with the unique power to strike a balance between work and family. This unique accomplishment is a motivation for women across the country.
But I was lucky to have had an exceptionally supportive one — my husband, Sughran, daughter Roinee, and my parents. I am also grateful to my mentors in the organization for their guidance.”
Recently in 2016, on the occasion of its centenary celebration, ZSI acknowledged the contribution of 100 women scientists by collating their work in the form of a document titled “The Glorious 100 women’s Scientific Contribution in ZSI”.
Banerjee was also a co-author of the paper, which noted the contribution of these former women scientists and their studies on various animal diversities.
Moreover, Banerjee was also part of the June 2015 expedition, which located the grave of the ZSI’s first director-general Thomas Nelson Annandale.
She said, “It took us some time to discover that the ZSI founder was buried at the Scottish Cemetery and not at the Park Street Cemetery.
But when we initiated the mission, we realized that the inscriptions were barely visible. We had a difficult time looking for Annandale’s tombstone. But it was an extremely rewarding experience.”