By: Ayushma Uprety, Mentee of STEM Mentorship Program, Smart Cheli
Laxmi Tiwari, an Electronics and Communication Engineer who is currently a researcher at Computer Vision Project, an Executive Director at Blackbeam United Cosmos Organization(BMUCO) and a committee member at Women in Big Data- Nepal.
Ayushma Uprety asked her some questions regarding her journey and experience in the STEM field.
A.U: Why did you choose to have your career in the field of STEM?
L.T: Mathematics was my strength. So, I was in the Physical section in my high school. Mathematics, being my strength as well as my interest, I decided to follow the path of engineering and appeared for the entrance exams accordingly. I got into an engineering college which marked the beginning of my journey in this field.
A.U: What do you think might be the reasons behind the less girl representation in the field of STEM?
L.T: The first reason might be the workload that is shared to a daughter in the house. The STEM field is something that requires higher investment of time as well as dedication. So, the burden of work makes them distracted, due to which they don’t think of having a career path in this field. Even if they have chosen, they leave halfway not being able to cope with all those burdens at a time.
A.U: Do you feel that the fallacy that the tech field is not for girls still exists?
L.T: Yeah, I do feel so. There still exists the mentality that biology is for females and physics for males. The tech field is still overpopulated with males. But gradually the female representation in this field is increasing and I hope this continues.
A.U: Have you faced any challenges being a girl in the field of STEM?
L.T: Yeah, I have certainly. During my high school, we had very few girls studying science. Even teachers had the misconception that females in this field are quite backward in terms of knowledge compared to males. There were the instances when our male teachers bullied us. One of them announced to the whole class “Look girls know how to use calculators. Give a round of applause for them.” That moment was very embarrassing. That was the straight point out that females in this field are useless. How can a society prosper with the teachers of such mindset? Girls being very few, would be the matter of highlight in my engineering classes and my workplace as well.
A.U: What message do you have for girls in STEM and all other young girls in general?
L.T: The very first thing is having faith in yourself. Never let anyone affect your decision. There might be several instances when you have some questions but you may hesitate to ask with the feeling that the question you have in your mind is too simple. In actual, doing so would be the biggest mistake of your life.
Also, what I wanted to say to every girl that never waste your time in gossip and chatters. Instead invest your time into something productive. I have seen many girls around me having nonsense talks for hours instead of working. It’s we ourselves responsible for our success. If we don’t dare to struggle and keep on blaming others, we will never be able to move ahead. So, to reach your destined path, start working and dig out the opportunities for you by self. Never wait for other people to do that for you.