As part of the Sweden India Nobel Memorial Week, SHE STEM, the annual event to celebrate women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and sustainability, was successfully held for the third year in a row.
The annual event is organised by the Embassy of Sweden in India in partnership with the Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, Government of India and the German Centre of Innovation and Research (DWIH New Delhi).
Ambassador of Sweden to India H.E. Jan Thesleff, who also addressed the students via a video message said, “We are very happy to continue the tradition of SHE STEM – it is a flagship event of the Sweden-India Nobel memorial Week. Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s SHE STEM Video challenge.”
Dr Chintan Vaishnav, Mission Director of Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog said, “Today, the face of women’s involvement in STEM is changing and the rate of participation has increased. It was in ATL Marathon 2021, that there was a spike where the women participation was 49%. A strong STEM education will go a long way in cultivating such critical thinkers.”
SHE STEM 2022 began with a musical performance by the students at Darbari Lal DAV Model School, New Delhi, the host school for SHE STEM 2022, followed by talks, and a panel discussion by with women in the fields of STEM and business, including Dr Sridevi Annapurna Singh, Director of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – Central Food Technological Research (CSIR-CFTRI), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government. of India. Dr Sridevi has done extensive work in the development of supplementary foods for undernourished children and in studying the impact of protein rich food on children. She spoke to the audience about the need for women in fields of STEM to bring in their unique perspectives to problem-solving for a sustainable future.
Other participants included Cecilia Oskarsson, Trade, and Invest Commissioner of Sweden to India, shared her thoughts on the role of diversity in triggering and enabling positive changes for girls and women, Mamta Kumari, co-founder, and CEO of Prepbytes, an ed-tech company in India, and Dr Vasudharani Devanathan, Neurobiologist and Professor of Biology at the Indian Institute of Science Education Research (IISER). Rupali Mehra, Founder of Content People AB moderated the event.
Dr Per-Arne Wikström, Head of Office of Science & Innovation, Embassy of Sweden in New Delhi said: “When women and girls provide their talent, their knowledge and their capabilities to science and technology on equals terms with men and boys, then we know that societies prosper, and that innovation capacity actually increases. So, for us gender equality is an integrated part and an important aspect in everything that we do. We would like to thank our Indian partners for their support for this very important initiative.”
“As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, ‘who is not curious will not gain knowledge,’ so keep your curiosity on, drive your knowledge forward and who knows maybe the one or other idea will be implemented,” said Dr Katja Lasch, Director at German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH New Delhi) and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) India.
Following the success of the Insta-reels Video Challenge in 2021, SHE STEM hosted the #SHESTEM2022 Video Challenge across Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Google Drive for students of ages 13 to 17, asking them to imagine themselves in the year 2047, and speak about an innovation of theirs that has helped in tackling climate change. The response was overwhelming with over 930 videos of which 15 were shortlisted. SHE STEM had an extensive jury round of 3 jury teams; from the Atal Innovation Mission Team led by Dr Chintan Vaishnav, from the Swedish Embassy team, Dr Per-Arne Wikström, and from the German Centre for Research and Innovation, Dr Katja Lasch.
The videos were assessed on
● Novelty of idea
● Clarity of thought and articulation
● Sustainability or climate action angle
G. Nivethiga Rani who created a video on how she as a STEM Leader in 2047 had invented a robot that collected and converted biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste into electricity, won the first prize at the video challenge. The second prize was tied between T Shatananda Dhanwantari and Shreya Singh and Nistha Aswal, who participated as a team. Gaurav Hanjoora won third place.
“I congratulate all the winners of the SHE STEM 2022. I have to say what caught my attention was that every single idea was addressing a fundamental constraint confronting us,” said Dr Chintan Vaishnav.