This summer, the educational art project SHE is SCIENCE was presented to a wide audience, and ever since, it promotes Ukrainian female scientists in all the major cities of Ukraine and abroad. Sergey Tokarev, an investor, the founder of the IT company Roosh and the initiator of SHE is SCIENCE, shares the plans of the project, its goals, and the ways it promotes gender equality.
The project goals
SHE is SCIENCE is a part of a larger educational initiative STEM is FEM. The initiative aims at promoting STEM majors among schoolgirls by letting them get immersed in one of the technical or scientific fields. It allows girls to know more about these areas and meet female professionals that can motivate them to pursue their careers in one of the STEM industries.
According to Sergey Tokarev, the idea of STEM is FEM was born after he realized that there is an obvious shortage of female specialists in the IT area. After a while, it became clear that the lack of female role models for girls is one of the reasons for this situation. That gave an impetus to create an art project SHE is SCIENCE.
As Tokarev notes, they started with a poll among the people they know and asked them to name Ukrainian female scientists without googling. Unfortunately, the results showed that most people could not remember a single name. That is why the main goal of the project is to tell people about the outstanding scientists that made a huge contribution to Ukrainian and world science, and at the same tim, provide modern schoolgirls with role models for their future career.
The unusual way of implementing the idea
To attract more people, the SHE is SCIENCE organizers decided to use a synthesis of visual art, literature, and science. Therefore, they asked five modern Ukrainian illustrators—Sergiy Maidukov, Anna Ivanenko, Olga Degtyareva, Anna Sarvira, and Jenya Polosina—to create portraits of twelve female scientists. The idea was not only to show the appearance of the prominent women but also to show the scientific area they work in.
Once the portraits were ready, the organizers offered to girls aged 14 to 21 to write an essay about the scientists. Altogether, there were 561 works sent to the contest, and 12 of the essays became an integral part of the exhibition.
Plans and ambitions of the project
For the first time, the portraits and the essays were shown together on June 10 in Kyiv during a large event. There were present representatives of UN Women, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), NATO, foreign consulates, as well as the First Lady of the country Olena Zelenska. The event included a big auction that aimed to cover the educational expenses for the girls who had sent the winning essays.
After that, the exhibition copies started their “journey” throughout Ukraine. First, SHE is SCIENCE set of portraits was shown in Zaporizhzhia, Mariupol, and Kryvyi Rih. Then, it was hosted by the beautiful historical station of Kozyatyn in the Vinnytsia region and the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
Altogether, there are 300 copies of the exhibition, and 109 of them are already sent out. The project organizers are ready to send it to any school, university, library, or any other institution in any part of Ukraine, be it a big city or small village. All the information about how to order it is on the main page of the STEM is FEM website.
According to Sergey Tokarev, the project organizers are already negotiating Ukrainian embassies in the EU and other countries and planning to show the portraits there as well. Ukraine has much to be proud of and the contribution of female scientists of Ukraine is one of the greatest achievements of the country.
At the moment, the SHE is SCIENCE exposition is placed in the UNIT. City in Kyiv. A few months later, it will be moved to a new place where it will remain for permanent “place of residence”.