GITC: Introduction

Glocal International Teen Conference (GITC) is an opportunity for teenagers to address the issues and overcome the challenges that they have faced in their daily lives. It is a platform for all teenagers from age 13 to 19 to learn, empower, and bring social impact through a participatory and interactive environment with their peers from all over the globe. It is a lifetime experience to connect with the influencing teenager and act for a positive change. 

The conference showcased the ideas, experiences, and stories of teenagers from different countries through a series of panel discussions and presentations. The three key issues of GITC are Entrepreneurship, Empowerment, and Socio-Perspective. This Year, Glocal International Teen Conference is being organized virtually. 

Presenter for “Empowerment Panel” at Wai Wai Glocal International Teen Conference, 2021

Ms. Sanjita Pokhrel from Nepal presented her presentation on the “Empowerment Panel” at Wai Wai Glocal International Teen Conference 2021. The main objective of the presentation is to illustrate the idea that we should always pursue what we are interested in no matter what the situation is.

Sanjita Pokhrel is a 19- years old young and inspiring teen from Nepal. She is passionate about Physics and Astronomy. She aspires to be a NASA Journalist one day. Currently, She is serving as an executive member of  Astronomy Enthusiast in Nepal (AEA). She is working as an event moderation team in the Mathematics Initiative in Nepal. Ms. Pokhrel is a content creator for Girls Mathematics Olympiad Camp. Sanjita Pokhrel is an Opportunity Funds Grantee 2021 from Education USA. Her various achievements include Global Nominee at NASA Space App Challenge 2020, Selected for Closed Camp of the 7th National Astronomy Olympiad, Winner of South-western Inter college Science Exhibition 2020, Runner Up at Nationwide Himalayan Whitehouse Science Exhibition and many more. She is an avid reader and enjoys meaningful conversations. 

Ms. Pokhrel emphasized the importance of being empowered and encouraged everyone to discover their own means of empowerment. She spoke beautifully on the empowerment of girls in the field of astronomy in Nepal, as well as her own path and the idea of overcoming the prejudice that “Girls can govern everywhere.” She also made an excellent point about highlighting the idea that no matter what the scenario is, we should always follow what we are interested in.  Ms. Pokhrel started to talk about her experience competing in the Astronomy Olympiad and the current state of girls in astronomy. She talked about how important it is for girls to get involved in Astronomy.

Synopsis of Empowerment Presentation

Firstly, I would also like to thank all of this organization team for giving us this wonderful platform to express ourselves, our experiences, and give us this platform to make our voices heard. Now, I would like to start my presentation on the topic of  “Empowerment of girls in the field of Astronomy in Nepal.”

Empowerment is a subjective topic, it holds different meanings for different people. Some people feel empowered when they can accumulate their goals, or some other people feel empowered when they are choosing their careers. Talking about myself, I feel empowered when I am able to make my decisions without worrying about anybody’s opinion or anything else. When we are able to make our own decisions, we feel empowered. But there are so many people or marginalized people who are not able to make their own decisions because they do not feel empowered. In fact, they are not even real. They have not even realized their rights. So, today in this presentation in the presence of teenagers from around the world, I will like to talk about women in STEM and their empowerment. 

I felt the need for the empowerment of women while I was participating in the different astronomic programs. As I am interested in astronomy, I would like to share some of my journey and how I feel the need for the empowerment of women in STEM. I have participated in a closed camp of the 7th National Astronomical Olympiad. 

Next, I participated in the NASA Space Apps Challenge. My team name was “Bugbuster”, and we were selected as our Global Nominee from Nepal. I feel like if we started to embrace our journey and pursue and explore in the field of interest, then anything can be possible. And I also feel that women are also capable, and I feel the need to voice ourselves for women empowerment.

Currently, I am serving as an executive member of  Astronomy Enthusiast in Nepal (AEA). AEN is working to create a community of Astronomy. It organizes informative sessions, discussion series and outreach programs about Astronomy. We have around 120 members in this community, and among them 40% are female. 

Now, I would like to talk about the present context, male-dominated society. It is a well-known fact that our society is male-dominated everywhere, and especially in the STEM field. The ratio of male to female is very huge. In this figure, you can see that the proportion of male and female choosing the STEM field in Secondary School is huge. The male is signified by red color, whereas a female is signified by the blue color. This is just a stereotype. Women are considered weak with numbers.

Similarly, we also have a few role models. Women have also contributed a lot in the field of STEM in the past and even in the present time but female contribution is not discussed as men. Besides the things that have been discussed about male dominance and stereotypes that women are weak in mathematics, these are the things that we have been discussing for a very long time. But, there has not been a lot changed by that discussion so we need to look at the bright side. One study found that women who affirmed a personal value prior to experiencing stereotype threat performed as well on a math test as men and as women who did not experience stereotype threat. So this clearly shows that the stereotype holding women back is not that male and female biological brains are designed in a way that male can perform very well. It is just a stereotype that has put us behind. So we need to break the stereotype. Now, the number of women in STEM is increasing gradually than before. Many organizations and communities are investing to promote girls in STEM. So, our society is not only dominated, but women are also breaking the stereotype and moving forward in the fields of STEM. So, role models could be anyone, it could be our female teacher, peer, siblings, or anyone else. So, do not limit yourself based on stereotypes. Instead, make decisions that are solely based on your interest. Thus, always stand for yourself.

At the end of the session, the most important thing to realize is, “Unity is the key”. It is not possible by a single effort or by one person’s effort. So I would like to humbly request everyone that we should collaborate as a community, as a nation and as a whole world to work for women empowerment to work for empowerment because when we empower women, it is not only the women who prosper, it is the whole humanity that prospers. 

Thank You!

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