Rita Banerji is an author and feminist activist from India.
She is the founder and director of the international, award-winning, grassroots campaign, The 50 Million Missing Campaign that has been working since 2006 to stop the female genocide (gendercide) in India. The 50 Million Missing Campaign was selected as a finalist for the 2013 Katerva Award in the Gender Equality Category. The Katerva Award highlights the most ground-breaking projects from around the world and has been referred to as “the Nobel Prize of Sustainability.” The campaign won the Katerva Awards’ People’s Choice Honorable Mention. The 50 Million Missing has also been nominated for The Shorty Awards which honors the best content producers on social media.
Her book Sex and Power: Defining History, Shaping Societies (Penguin Books, India), based on 5 years of research, looks at the dynamics of sex, sexuality and gender in India over 5000 years, and explores the reasons why the society that produced the kamasutras and erotic temple sculptures at one time, is so sexually conservative in the twenty-first century. The book has been described by The Telegraph (India) as “An extraordinary take on a subject still a taboo [and].. a new interpretation of Indian history.” It was long-listed for the Vodaphone-Crossword Non-Fiction Book Award .
She has published two books of a poetry memoir series of poems taken from her personal diaries. The first is Undressing:Life in Hidden Poems. The poems she has selected for this book are among her most personal. They are about the emotional turbulence of her life over the last twenty-five years, her journey for identity and self, her search for a home amidst constant re-locations across towns and countries, and lessons she has learnt about love, family and relationships. Volume 2 is titled Unsaid. Here she explores her struggles and resolution with self identity after feeling like an “outsider” among multiple cultures and societies, all her life.
In 2015, The European Students for Liberty recognized Banerji among ‘Six Women Who are Changing the World.’ The ‘Wear Your Voice’ magazine voted her among ‘30 Of the Most Influential Women of 2015.’ The Readers Club of Delhi lists her among ‘Indian Feminist Writers You Can’t Afford to Miss.’
Banerji is also a contributing photographer for Getty’s Images.
Sex and Power was Long-listed for the Vodaphone-Crossword Non-Fiction Book Award (India)
National Award from the Association for Women in Science, Washington D.C. for Ph.D. research on acid rain (U.S.A.) [click to view announcement]
Morgan Adams Award in Biology for Ph.D. Research (U.S.A.)
Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, Associate member (-Ex)
Botanical Society of America’s Young Botanist Recognition Award
Howard Hughes Grant for research in genetics
Award for Student Leadership and Service, Mount Holyoke College
Charles A. Dana Fellowship for Research in Ecology
President’s Award for Commitment and Contribution to Campus Life, Mount Holyoke