Jain helps organize women empowerment conference ‘Her Voice, Our Voice’

A far-off idea dreamt up by Sumin Hwang (12), a student at Torrey Pines, will be coming to reality. Her idea, a seminar promoting women’s rights and empowerment entitled “Her Voice, Our Voice,” will be happening in the Westview theatre for all students to attend, 6 p.m. tonight. Hwang proposed her idea to female club leaders at high schools in PUSD. Six girls, all passionate about women’s rights and successful in different fields, joined Hwang’s team and committed themselves to planning and organizing “Her Voice, Our Voice.”

The event is split into three parts, highlighting female speakers and shedding light on the potential for women in politics, art/media, and STEM fields. One of the students that helped organize the event, Deepali Jain (12) took charge of the STEM portion of the event, attaining the responsibility of finding guest speakers and managing the details of that section. She said she loved the idea of putting together the seminar, and couldn’t wait to get started once she heard Hwang’s idea.

Jain said she knew that setting up the event was a perfect opportunity for her to have a part in promoting women’s equality and empowerment.

“Promoting equality is something that I’m passionate about,” she said. “In the [STEM-based] clubs that I’m involved in like robotics and cyber security, I have always been able to feel that there aren’t very many women in the clubs and I have always wanted to change that.”

Jain said she has felt the need to work harder as a woman in a male-dominated field.

“It comes off as really intimidating when you’re one of the few girls in a room,” she said. “I have had to work harder to get to the point where people will start to respect me and give me more credit for the work that I did.”

Jain said that she hopes “Her Voice, Our Voice” will inspire females to pursue the career path of their interest. Jain said that being exposed to successful women, such as her mother who is a software engineer, and hearing them speak has motivated her to pursue STEM.

By joining the team of students that put together “Her Voice, Our Voice,” Jain said she found even more people to be inspired by. She said she is inspired by them just from hearing their stories and learning about their wide range of interests. The seminar itself reflects this wide range of interests, aiming to inspire all attendees.

The first portion of the event focuses on women in STEM. Anlin Zhang (12), from Canyon Crest Academy, will be speaking about her journey and impressive research that led her to become a regional winner of the Siemens Competition, a national competition for high schoolers in the areas of math, science and technology. She was on a team that created a mathematical model that helped analyze how infectious diseases spread. The second speaker, Deepali Bhandari, is an advocate for women’s rights and works in the field of computer science. Jain considers Bhandari a family friend and chose her to speak because she has always been inspired by her powerful voice and stories.

Two women will be presenting in each section of the event, such as Dr. Bey-Ling Sha, a professor and director of the SDSU School of Journalism and Media Studies. Additionally, Sara Jacobs, a congressional candidate and advocate for women’s rights, will be speaking. But there is more scheduled than presentations.

In between the main sections, Jain and the other members of the team decided to include performances by students such as spoken word poetry and dance in order to highlight talented individuals in the community.

Following the three main sections, they will show a film about Planned Parenthood and prepare a panel for the guest speakers to answer questions from the audience.

As they hope to promote women’s general and reproductive rights, there will also be a voter registration table at the event so the audience can use their voices to make change.

“The purpose of the event is to empower women and girls of all ages and to find new ways to showcase high-schoolers in this area,” Jain said. “We hope to impact change in the community and inspire our audience to grow and learn from the speakers’ stories and advice.”