5 Must-Watch TED Talks: Indian Women Redefining STEM

by | Jun 9, 2024 | Change Makers, Gender, Inclusion, Leadership, Women Matters | 0 comments

While women in India comprise around 35% of STEM enrollment in higher education, their presence in the workforce lags far behind at only 14%. This gender gap persists due to various institutional and systemic barriers. However, amidst these challenges, a wave of inspiring women in STEM is making a difference.

This list of TED Talks features five such change-makers –  pioneers who have not only achieved personal success but are now actively using their platforms to empower the next generation of women in STEM fields.

Indian Girls Code | Aditi Prasad 

In this powerful talk, Aditi Prasad, the founder of Indian Girls Code, tackles a critical issue: the widening STEM gender gap fueled by the digital divide in rural India. Indian Girls Code is a revolutionary program that empowers underprivileged girls by equipping them with the tools of the future – coding and robotics. Prasad passionately explains how her organization is bridging this gap by providing an immersive, interactive, and hands-on learning experience in STEM fields, igniting a passion for technology in these young girls.

    Women in STEM: Role of Institutions and Society in Gender Equity | Rohini Godbole  

    In her TED Talk, renowned physicist and Padma Shri awardee, Rohini Godbole, tackles the underrepresentation of women in Indian STEM fields. She delves into the role social institutions play in perpetuating this systemic gap. Despite balanced enrollment in undergraduate programs, societal pressures around career and family disproportionately impact women, leading them to drop out of advanced coursework. Godbole emphasizes the urgent need for collective action to dismantle these barriers. Her message is clear: to shatter the glass ceiling and achieve true gender equity in Indian STEM, we must empower women to thrive at all levels of their careers.

      Meet the Rebels of Indian STEM | Nandita Jayaraj

      Freelance science writer, Nandita Jayaraj, co-founder of ‘The Life of Science’, an independent media project which uncovers the stories of Indian women in science, celebrates the ‘rebels’ of Indian STEM in this TED talk. These women refused to stay silent and instead challenged the status quo, speaking up at the risk of their own careers. Jayaraj highlights the stories of figures like Kamala Sohonie and Grace Banu, emphasising the importance of speaking truth to power. This talk serves as a reminder to leverage our platforms and advocate for a future where women in STEM can thrive. 

        The vanishing Indian tech woman | Rashmi Mohan 

        In this thought-provoking TED talk, Rashmi Mohan explores the concerning phenomenon of highly educated female tech professionals disappearing from the workforce. She reveals that the number of women in leadership roles is on the downturn, especially in boards and senior management, due primarily to inadequate workplace flexibility for issues such as maternity leave. Mohan highlights the feeling of exclusion that women often experience in tech industries dominated by men, which leads to a collaboration crisis. Drawing on her own experience and knowledge, she advocates for both individual assertiveness and institutional change to reverse this worrying trend and ensure women reclaim their rightful place in the tech world.

        Growing up with technology, my story for the youth | Shradha Khapra

        In her inspiring talk, Shradha Khapra takes us on a journey- from overcoming the limitations of rural life to becoming a successful engineer and content creator. Growing up with scarce access to technology, Khapra found initial exposure to it through her older brother. Through hard work and perseverance, she pursued a degree in engineering and landed a prestigious placement at Microsoft. Yet, her ambition drove her to leave her job and embark on an entrepreneurial path, ultimately becoming a content creator dedicated to teaching technical skills to others. Khapra’s story exemplifies the transformational power of technology, proving that education, skills, and self-belief can elevate women to new heights.

        These TED Talks offer a glimpse into the vibrant landscape of women in Indian STEM. Together, they paint a powerful picture – one where Indian women in STEM not only achieve personal success but actively shape the landscape of innovation and discovery.

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