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Feminist Approach To Technology(FAT) at STEAM Labs

“The time is long overdue to encourage more women to dream the possible Dream”

 

Sheryl Sandberg


Feminist Approach To Technology ( FAT ) is one of the few organisation in India that are living by Facebook COO Sheryl’s words with all its spirit and we at Steam Labs are glad that we could be a part of their journey to empower girls and women in technology.

We got this opportunity on the Sunday after Diwali – 22nd October. A group of 40 girls, with two of their instructors – Ms. Garima Khurana and Ms. Neelima Sharma and their in-house photographer and one of the seniors at FAT – Ms. Jyoti Arya, arrived at Steam Labs, Gurgaon facility with hopes in eyes, smiles on their faces and full of excitement to build their first Robot. We were told that they had been waiting for almost a month for this day since, their instructor first told them about us. So we had a lot of expectations to live up to.

 

We at Steam Labs do not believe in classroom culture and try to make every workshop a fun and interactive experience where there are no marks or judgements but brownie points are awarded to everyone who takes part in the discussion, irrespective of the answer being right or wrong. So, we began. It took time for the girls to really get into the discussion but once they became comfortable we had the most awesome time getting insights on their outlook towards technology and life, in general and Man! It was fun.

 

We talked about basics of electricity to electronics, circuit building to mechanics and finally Robots. One of the girl had an interesting insight that any machine that can work autonomously that is to say without much human intervention can be called a Robot. Right On! this is what we believe, that Robots doesn’t necessarily have to conform with society’s idea of what a Robot needs to look like and can be made from virtually anything, even waste material. What qualifies it as a Robot is only its ability to do a work autonomously. In this case, we wanted to make our Robot from a paper cup, a motor and some batteries which could eventually draw when it moves.

 

The girls started making their Robots with each one bringing their creativity to the table. We had such a huge variety of designs of Robots from each table that it was difficult to choose a favourite. Some had 3 legs while some had 8. Some had moustaches as big as Nathu Lal while others had nose as big or even sometimes bigger than Pinocchio but all had one thing in common that they were an expression of their maker’s creativity.

 

Once, the robots were complete and running, it was lunch time. Time for some yummy Pizzas. We moved to the nearby park for Lunch and to have some fun. Yes, we had a car full of Pizzas. 

 

Since, it was the Diwali season and this time around sale of crackers was ban to put a check on City’s pollution, we thought of making some eco-friendly rockets which do not create noise or air pollution and launching them with the leftover bottles of our soft drinks. So we got to task, and assembled some PVC Pipes to become our eco-friendly rocket launchers.

 

We had a little competition to see whose rocket goes the farthest. The girls came in pairs while others cheered them on (I guess we did make some noise pollution :D) . Sometimes it was a competition of weight vs technique, but its fair to say that technique won.

At the end of this post, I would like to add that Empowering women can lead us to an Empowered Nation and these girls just need a free space to spread their wings and fly and FAT is doing a wonderful job to help these girls fly towards a better future and we thank them for giving us this opportunity. Hope we could engage in another fun filled day of learning and adventure with them.

 

We need all hands on deck, and that means clearing hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

 

Michelle Obama

 

 

Gurpreet Singh

Gurpreet Singh

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