Dr Eli Pradhan is an ophthalmologist and medical retina consultant, specializing in dealing with people with diabetic or aging changes in the eye. She is also the executive editor of the Nepalese Journal of Ophthamology.
What are your experiences working as an ophthalmology researcher as a woman?
It is not an easy job being a woman because of all the other responsibilities with family, clinical practice, being an academician as well as having an editing job. It’s trying to balance between your work and other things.
Being a mother, looking after children and being a wife puts a lot of pressure on us, which I don’t think happens to a male counterpart. They can focus more on just one subject.
Why is it important for women and girls to pursue research?
First of all, being a woman and an academic we should feel very proud of ourselves as we are balancing so many things at one time. It also gives us confidence in ourselves and who we are, not just as a housewife or a mother. It’s important to build ourselves, to build our own character and also for our professional development.
In Nepal very few girls go into research and those that do are more from cities like Kathmandu than from the rural areas. It is rather difficult for a woman to get involved in science, especially as the literacy rate for women is very much lower than for men.
How do you support younger women researchers?
I would definitely encourage women in the field. I help by giving more encouragement to them and also giving support, advice and suggestions when they require it. I also involve women in the journal as sub-section editors. We have many female sub-section editors since I became executive editor.
Those women are quite confident and they are very good at responding compared to male subeditors and so I can count on them.When I send them articles they respond very well; immediately I get their replies back and that makes me feel very good about them being young, female sub-editors and researchers as well.
They are involved being clinicians, they are involved with their clinical practices as well. They tend to have younger children so are even more involved with their house stuff compared to me but still they find the time to do editorial jobs and reply to me.
What advice would you give to new female researchers?
First of all, they need to be interested in the field. If they are interested but finding it a bit difficult to get the time they can speak with their bosses to provide specific time slots for the research and for journal work. Basically, it’s about time management.
Even though we have many female sub editors, being a women journal editor is still difficult. It’s difficult for them to get full support and to give time to the activity because there are so many things to do. For us in Nepal, it’s a non-paid job and you have to use your own time whether you are at home or at work. For me once I come back home between clinical time I’m at my laptop all the time. It requires time and full devotion to the journal trying to be a better editor. Sometimes it’s really difficult and very challenging.