On June 10, Kyiv hosted a charitable event as a part of the educational project She is Science. The event included awarding 12 finalists of the all-Ukrainian contest of essays about female scientists and also a charity auction.
During the auction, the project organizers raised funds to cover the educational expenses of the contest winners. Sergey Tokarev, an initiator of the project, founder of the venture studio PAWA and the technology company Roosh Tech, told us about how much money the organizers managed to raise for girls’ education, what happens to the project in the future and what its concept is.
The educational art project She is Science was created by the charitable educational organization STEM is FEM and started in February this year. Its first stage focused on creating 12 portraits of prominent Ukrainian female scientists. Among the heroines of the project were both modern young scientists, such as mathematician Maryna Viazovska and ornithologist Natalia Atamas, and historical figures such as physicist Olha Perevozchikova and programmer Kateryna Yushchenko. Five famous Ukrainian illustrators took part in creating the collection—Anna Ivanenko, Anna Sarvira, Olga Degtyaryova, Yevheniia Polosyna, and Sergiy Maidukov.
“We specifically emphasized the visual component. Images get more attention than text. And this is the concept of the project—to acquaint as many people as possible with women in science and their contribution to the development of scientific activities,” Sergey Tokarev confided.
The second part of the project was the contest of essays about each of the portrait series heroines. The contest was for girls aged 14 to 21 and their task was to describe not only the biography of scientists and what contribution they made to the development of science and society but also to convey their own perception of the heroines and explain how and why their example can be inspiring.
“We have received 561 works in total. The essays have come even from other countries. I hope that the winners and contestants whose works did not make it to the final this time will not give up but will continue dipping their toes into both writing and the sciences they wrote about,” Tokarev said.
First Lady, international uproar, and $43,600 for education
The project culmination was a gala night with awarding 12 finalists of the contest and determining the Grand Prix winner. This was Anastasia Suvorova from Kyiv with an essay about ornithologist Natalia Atamas. Winning first place provided the young lady with a grant for education in any educational institution in the world. The amount was $35,900. This includes $4,000 guaranteed by the organizers of the contest and $31,900 raised during a charity auction. The items at the auction were the original portraits of the series She is Science autographed by authors.
“Items from the project partners—jewelry and dresses of popular brands and brunches with renowned restaurateurs—became additional subjects of an auction. Unplanned items from the guests of the event became a pleasant surprise of the evening. For example, investment banker Igor Mazepa offered a helicopter flight over the exclusion zone. As a result, the raised $43,600 are going to cover the education not only of the main winner but also several other girls,” Sergey Tokarev noted.
The event was attended by the First Lady of Ukraine. As part of the panel discussion, Olena Zelenska spoke to young Ukrainian activists about promoting gender equality and creating an inclusive society. Olena Zelenska noted that Ukraine is moving in this direction.
“I want us to use the word “star” in our society not only regarding show business or sports but to have more and more famous and popular stars of science!” Zelenska stressed.
The event was attended by diplomats from Denmark, Sweden, and France, as well as representatives of international organizations—UN, NATO and other senior guests.
According to Sergey Tokarev, the project She is Science does not end at this point. The next stage will be exhibitions throughout Ukraine. 12 paintings and 12 essays combined into one exposition have already formed a same-name interactive exhibition that can be visited until June 24 in the art space Kooperativ in Kyiv. The next cities that will host the exposition will be Mariupol, Zaporizhzhia, and Kryvyi Rih.
Later, any educational or educational institution in Ukraine—school, library, or university—will be able to order a copy of the exhibition totally free of charge.