Celebrating the Contributions of Women in Science in Kyrgyzstan

February 11, 2023
Founders of WeInCrypto

Founder of WeInCrypto

Ainagul Abdrakhmanova/ UNDP

International Day of Women and Girls in Science is a special day observed annually on February 11th to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women and girls in the field of science and technology. The day is also an opportunity to raise awareness about the barriers that prevent women and girls from pursuing careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and to promote gender equality in the field. Our readers might already be familiar with the project WeinCrypto, which was the proud winner of the international acceleration program Boost: Women Innovators, organized by the UNDP regional office. The project co-founders, Varvara Lokteva, Elena Chigibaeva, and Tatiana Zelenskaya, were eager to share with us the exciting progress they had made.

"I studied Software Engineering and was one of only three girls out of 50 freshmen students. At the time, there were not many girls pursuing careers in the IT-sphere. I recall a professor approaching me at a conference and remarking that he had never seen a programmer with such long fingernails and a pink laptop. I am grateful for my IT background as it has opened many doors for me in my career. With over 13 years of experience in communications, I have worked with companies like Oracle and companies that develop software for Xerox. My technical knowledge has allowed me to effectively communicate complex technical information to a general audience." – Varvara Lokteva, co-founder of WeinCrypto.

Science and technology play a crucial role in the development of societies and the betterment of humanity. However, women and girls have historically been underrepresented and undervalued in these fields, facing various forms of discrimination and bias. This has resulted in a significant gender gap in STEM careers, with fewer women and girls pursuing education and careers in science and technology, and a lower representation of women in leadership positions.

According to the second co-founder of WeinCrypto Elena Chigibaeva, she used to work for JSC in Dubai, a company that specialized in financial market analysis software and training courses. During her time there, she was introduced to Bitcoin, but didn't pay much attention to it as the company's focus was primarily on futures and stocks. To maintain the company's valuable information, all employees signed a contract prohibiting them from trading or investing during their employment and for five years after.

Elena said that it wasn't until she participated in the TechWomen program in America that she truly realized the potential of the Web3 world. She had the opportunity to attend several events on Women in Blockchain and was impressed by the number of women and girls who were investing in cryptocurrency or building blockchain startups. Despite their enthusiasm and passion, the concept still felt foreign and distant to her.

Upon returning to Kyrgyzstan, she made it her mission to focus on developing STEM education and encouraging more girls and women to explore careers in IT. With the help of her fellow TechWomen alumni and a group of like-minded women in the STEM field, they formed the Techaiym community, aimed at empowering girls in IT and STEAM. According to Elena, their efforts have already had a significant impact, with over 4,000 girls and women participating in their various STEM programs.

According to a World Economic Forum report, it could take 108 years to close the gender gap and a further 100 years to achieve economic gender parity. The importance of International Day of Women and Girls in Science cannot be overstated. By recognizing and celebrating the achievements of women and girls in science and technology, we are sending a powerful message that they are valued and that their contributions are important. A more diverse STEM workforce means a wider range of perspectives, ideas, and solutions to the challenges we face, leading to more creative and impactful solutions. Women and girls can also bring a unique perspective to the table, providing innovative solutions to problems that may have been overlooked in the past. By promoting gender equality and encouraging more girls to pursue careers in science and technology, we can help to build a more diverse and innovative STEM workforce, leading to a better future for all.

For the information:

Web3 refers to the next generation of the internet, which is designed to be more decentralized, secure, and user-driven. Unlike the current internet (Web2), where a few large companies control most of the data and services, Web3 envisions a world where users have more control over their own data and can interact with each other directly without intermediaries. This is made possible through the use of blockchain technology, which allows for secure and transparent transactions without the need for a central authority. The goal of Web3 is to create a more open and fair internet where users have greater control over their online experiences and data. In simple words, Web3 is the internet of the future, where the power and control are in the hands of users.

An NFT, or Non-Fungible Token, is a unique digital asset that represents ownership or proof of authenticity of a specific item or piece of content. Unlike cryptocurrencies (such as Bitcoin), which are fungible and can be exchanged for one another, NFTs are unique and cannot be exchanged for another identical item. This means that each NFT is one-of-a-kind and has its own distinct value.

For example, an NFT can represent ownership of a digital artwork, a collectible item in a video game, or even a tweet. The ownership of an NFT is recorded on a blockchain, which makes it secure and verifiable. This makes NFTs an exciting new way for artists, creators, and collectors to monetize and authenticate their digital creations. In simple words, NFTs are unique digital assets that allow ownership and authenticity of digital items to be recorded on a blockchain, making them secure and verifiable.