‘WoMentor’ is a non-profit organization formed by undergraduate students from St. Stephens’ College, Delhi Univesity. Third-year student Disha Kashyap founded it on 14th March 2020. It aims to provide an ecosystem of support and knowledge for young girls who wish to pursue careers in Science. The organization is led by students from different science disciplines in the college. They are working towards providing underprivileged girls with reliable information to help them make the right career choice. The organization is also working with students from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Janakpuri and INA. Students from underprivileged backgrounds do not have access to proper career counselling. Thus, WoMentor decided to work with students from government schools.
Founder Disha Kashyap recalls how confused she was after completing her Class XII and thus struggled to find a mentor. “We are in constant touch with students exposing them to different research areas. Most of them in class XI and XII join the science stream only to become engineers or doctors without giving it a thought,” says Disha. She also feels that gender parity in the field of science is highly skewed. Moreover, one of the organization’s aims includes bridging the gender gap. They also want to protect the innovative perspectives of women, when it comes to science. In India, women drop out of schools early and lack role-models. Even if they acquire a master’s degree, hardly any take up research projects. Therefore, WoMentor aims to bring about a change in the current scenario and make young girls realize their potential.
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The pandemic has rendered all our vision boards futile. But the students from St. Stephens worked hard into bringing like-minded people together to turn WoMentor into a reality. They have been mentoring students through video conferencing, webinars and phone calls amidst the crisis. Scientific journals and research material is not so easily available to all. Hence, mentors have been providing students with books and interesting videos to help them gain some perspective. As a result, they are helping the students choose a specific branch of science they want to study. With their WoMentor Connect Series, they link established women in academia and industry to young students.
One of these women includes Neetu Singh from IIT Delhi. She remarks on how scientists like don’t come out and share the difficulties we faced without personal life and choices. She believes that asking what one likes and researches gives one the ability to learn about anything. The members of WoMentor are thus making their way to revolutionize the storytelling of women in the disciplines of STEM. With their Connect series and free webinars, they are creating a conversation about challenges faced by women in this field of academic studies. Find them on Facebook @stem.womentors and learn more about them here.