Pooja Sawrikar

I am a purpose-driven womxn.

What's easy / difficult for womxn?

In place of the long essay going on in my head: it’s comparatively easier for women to express what they feel, and comparatively harder to be taken seriously. How do you maintain mental fitness/emotional health?

I sleep 8-9 hours every day and it is good quality sleep. My rested brain helps me navigate the day better than I would without it. What brings you joy and vitality?

Fonts! I am so anal about fonts but the joy of picking the right one is just so good! My nightly game of Scrabble with my husband also brings me great joy. I feel the greatest sense of vitality when I am ticking off my to-dos in a smooth but not rushed manner. How do you nurture your relationship with nature?

I go for a walk at least once a week. It’s a path that winds around my neighbourhood and is lined with big shady trees. The green is calming and clears my head. Where do you feel a sense of belonging/community?

I have a sense of belonging with each of my groups of friends. These are from school, Bharata Natyam dancing, university, workplaces, family, and the family my parents made after they migrated. Where do you live/work?

I live and work on the unceded lands of the Yugambeh/Kombumerri peoples. Who or what motivates you in your daily life?

My daily life now centres around the purpose of equity in academic publishing. My Founder's Story tells more of how previous workplace abuses and neglect have made this my calling. What matters most to you, either now or in the long term?

In my Year 12 school book, where each person was asked what they wanted to do and mostly answered in professions they were seeking, I said “to die with a smile on my face”. It still stands. What ideas are you working on, or playing with, or just sitting with now?

The idea I work on with daily passion and dedication is equity in academic publishing. I recently launched Scholar Freedom, designed for this purpose. Academic publishing is now fraught with gatekeeping and profiteering, and knowledge-generation depends heavily on government funding. Along with journal impact factors - simple reductionistic numbers that apparently convey the worth of a piece of work - have made the current research dissemination system more than a bad joke. They have choked freedom of research speech and information. Founder's Story link When you’re down, how do you get back up?

I am a naturally optimistic person so I always bounce back, but when I am down I do not rush it. I pay attention to every feeling, and trust that it will pass. I write the insights and learnings down so that they remain beyond the time they visited.

 

CONNECTION

Pooja's commitment to stepping outside of the excluding academic system to design an equitable and inclusive one is a brilliant example of how it is possible to use your energy wisely to create the change you desire.


Coincidentally, I'm reading Bri Lee's book Who Gets to be Smart, in it she outlines a conversation with Omid Tofighian, the translator of Behrouz Boochani's book No Friend But the Mountains. Bri is asking Omid for advice about the direction of her PhD, he shocks her by replying 'I would say that academia is second only to Manus prison in terms of being the most violent and cruel institution I have ever encountered.' He introduces her to the concept of KYRIARCHY and discusses how this system pervades society's structural systems including education.


This definintion of kyriarchy is from Masterclass.com:

"A kyriarchy is an intersectional and interlocking set of hierarchies, all of which do their part to privilege some and oppress and subjugate people of certain identity groups. As an example, men might oppress women as a whole in the kyriarchal approach, but it’s also possible a white woman could oppress a Black man. Similarly, a Black woman with no disabilities might have more privilege than a Black woman with disabilities. The benefit of viewing things in kyriarchal terms mainly lies in revealing the complexity of how oppressive systems operate — a person might find themselves both subjugated and privileged simultaneously at different levels of the kyriarchy.



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