AWESOME Conference - March 3-5, 2022
The "International Conference on Advancing Women's Empowerment through Systems Model Expansion" (AWESOME) took place virtually March 3-5, 2022. The conference was hosted by the Center for Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality, UNESCO Chair for Gender Equality, in partnership with Systems Innovation, Mumbai Hub, and supported by the Indian Council on Social Science Research (ICSSR) the conference was a great success bringing together key stakeholders and academics from around the globe.
AWESOME: At A Glance
500+ Participants | 12 Countries | 12 Keynote Speakers | 15 accepted papers | 15 partner institutions
The conference featured academics, policymakers, and practitioners who will share their expertise and vision on systems thinking for women's empowerment from both theoretical and applied points of view. Workshops and tutorials that presented effective tools for women's empowerment took place in various breakouts. By bringing together an interdisciplinary group of academics, policymakers, and practitioners from systems thinking, women & gender studies, technology innovation, and related fields, the knowledge shared through this conference will contribute to addressing the complexity and multifaceted dimensions impacting women’s empowerment and gender equality.
Dr. Bhavani Rao kicked off the conference with the following words of inspiration: “Just as indigenous/first generation people hold this conviction: Amma also says that when the wings of a butterfly touches one part of a web, its touch reverberates throughout the entire web. It is with this understanding that the AWESOME framework addresses the multiple factors impacting women’s empowerment knowing that changes in one factor undoubtedly have a ripple effect on the others” - Dr. Bhavani Rao, UNESCO Chair on Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment (India), Dean - CWEGE & AMMACHI Labs, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.
Event highlights included:
• Three days of sessions between 15:30 - 21:30 IST with keynote addresses, workshops, presentations, tutorials, fireside chats
• Top speakers including renowned scientists, activists and changemakers:
◦ Fritjof Capra, Ph.D., World-renowned scientist, educator, activist & author of “Tao of Physics”
◦ Vandana Shiva, Ph.D., Indian scholar, environmental activist, ecofeminist and author
◦ Deepa Narayan, Ph.D., World-renowned author & speaker. author of “Chup: Breaking the Silence about India's Women”, former advisor at the World Bank
◦ Charu Sinha, IG, Central Reserve Police Force, Srinagar Sector
◦ Prof. Jeemol Unni, Professor in Economics, Ahmedabad University.
◦ Dr. Sarthak Das, Chief Executive Officer of the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance
◦ Sairee Chahal, Founder and CEO of SHEROES & Mahila Money
◦ Losang Ragbey, Ph.D., Co-founder of Machik
◦ Agendra Kumar, President of ESRI
◦ Smt. Uma Mahadevan DasguptaPrincipal Secretary, Panchayati Raj, Government of Karnataka
◦ Human rights-based and evidence-informed interventions tailored to girls’ and women’s needs, particularly vulnerable communities were a main focus
For International Women’s Day (IWD 2022) all participants from the AWESOME Conference took the pledge to #BreakTheBias
In his concluding remarks, Dr. Tarek Rashed said “The AWESOME Framework upholds this vision to change the world: By 2050, women should be empowered to leverage their internal and external resources, live free from discrimination in healthy, sustainable, and safe environments, and enjoy access to quality education, cultural, political, and socioeconomic equality.” - Tarek Rashed, Adjunct Professor, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.
Bhavani Rao R, Ph.D., Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham - organize
Tarek Rashed, Ph.D, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham - organizer
Karen Moawad, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham - organizer
Tanuja Prasad, Systems Innovation Mumbai - organizer
Maya Narayan, Systems Innovation Mumbai – organizer
Day 1, March 3rd, 2022
Day 2, March 4th, 2022
Watch Today's Session Live
Day 3, March 5th, 2022
Event Highlights Include
- 3 days of sessions between 15:30 - 21:30 IST with keynote addresses, 6 workshops, presentations, & 2 fireside chats
- Top speakers including renowned scientists, activists and changemakers:
- Fritjof Capra, Ph.D., World-renowned scientist, educator, activist & author of “Tao of Physics”
- Vandana Shiva, Ph.D., Indian scholar, environmental activist, ecofeminist and author
- Deepa Narayan, Ph.D., World-renowned author & speaker. author of “Chup: Breaking the Silence about India's Women”, former advisor at the World Bank
- Charu Sinha, IG CRPF SRINAGAR Sector
- Sarthak Das, Chief Executive Officer of the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance
- Sairee Chahal, Founder and CEO of SHEROES & Mahila Money
- Losang Ragbey, Ph.D., Co-founder of Machik
- Agendra Kumar, Managing Director of ESRI
- Naila Chowdhury, CEO of Pillars 4 Dignity
- Human rights-based and evidence-informed interventions tailored to girls’ and women’s needs, particularly in vulnerable communities
- 6 Workshops and 2 Fireside chats on the following themes:
- Evidence on Impact, Cost-Effectiveness & Implementation from the Evidence Consortium on Women’s Groups
- Geographic Information System Technologies Related to Gender & Development
- Invisible: How Systems Thinking Contributes to the Marginalisation of Global Majority Women
- Game-based workshop for Women's Empowerment
- Using Dialogue as a Process Tool towards Capacity Building and Women’s Empowerment
- Understanding Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality Using a Systems Innovation Approach
- Fireside Chat: Designing for Women
- Fireside Chat: The Systems Sanctuary
- Guided meditation sessions during breaks.
The Conference’s objectives are: (1) Convene an interdisciplinary team of experts to advance knowledge and interventional strategies towards empowering women and strengthening gender equality in communities, and present research findings; (2) Promote human rights-based and evidence-informed interventions tailored to girls’ and women's needs, particularly vulnerable communities, and (3) Spotlight the state of technology and systems innovations in identifying and equipping agents of change (government, donors, etc.) with relevant, contextual knowledge on women’s empowerment issues.
By bringing together an interdisciplinary group of thinkers, researchers, practitioners, educators, and innovators from complex systems thinking, women and gender studies, technology innovation, and related fields, we hope to propel the field to the next level of acknowledging and addressing the complexity and multifaceted dimensions impacting women’s empowerment and gender equality.
The conference seeks contributions around the most recent innovations, trends, concerns, and best practice solutions adopted to address practical challenges and improve women’s resilience.
Day 1 (6 hrs)
- 15:30 - 17:00 Opening session
- Ceremonial Welcome
- Welcome address by Bhavani Rao, UNESCO Chair on Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment (India)
- “Women’s Empowerment” – a video presentation by Deepa Narayan, Social scientist, author & speaker
- AWESOME Framework, an overview by Tarek Rashed, Adjunct Professor, Amrita
- Guest Speaker: Agendra Kumar, Managing Director, Esri India
- Video message by Guest of Honor: Fritjof Capra, scientist, educator, activist
- Special Message Amrita University’s Chancellor, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi
- 17:00 - 17:15 – Break
- 17:15 - 19:00 – Economic and Education Tracks - (Keynote Speaker, Discussants, and paper presentations)
- Keynote Speaker: Jeemol Unni, Professor, Economics, Ahmedabad University
- Paper Presentations facilitated by Meg Jones, Sidney Strauss & Joost Monks
- Sandrine Bonin: The Success of Women’s Economic Saving Groups and Complex Causality
- Ogbonna Amarachi Onyeyirichi: Mind, Mores or Money? A Review of Women’s Economic Empowerment
- Mara Susak: Female Ideals of Thought and Education: A Historically Necessary Review
- Kaja B N R Mohamed: Evaluating the Women Empowerment Performance by Using Data Envelopment Analysis: The Case Of Women Empowerment in Saarc Countries
- Carmine Gambardella: Representing Places of Care: Maria Longo, A 16th Century Woman Who Invented The Future
- 19:00 - 19:30 – Mindfulness/Meditation session with Br. Mokshamrita Chaitanya
- 19:30 - 21:00 – Workshop: Self Help Groups in India: Evidence on Impact, Cost-Effectiveness & Implementation from the Evidence Consortium on Women’s Groups
- 21:00 - 21:30 – Concluding Event
- Keynote Speaker: Charu Sinha, IG CRPF SRINAGAR Sector
- Concluding Remarks: Bhavani Rao
Day 2 (6 hrs)
- 15:30 - 17:00 Concurrent Breakout Sessions: Parallel Workshops & Fireside Chat
- Room 1 – Workshop 1: Geographic Information System Technologies Related to Gender & Development, a Workshop by Esri India
- Room 2 - Invisible: How Systems Thinking Contributes to the Marginalisation of Global Majority Women, Helen Sanson, Educator
- Room 3 –Fireside Chat: Designing for Women, with Mansi Gupta founder of Unconform, Facilitated by Maya Narayan, Si Mumbai Hub
- 17:00 - 17:15 – Break
- 17:15 - 19:00 - Session: Sociocultural/Political & Environment, Tools (Keynote Speaker, Discussants and paper presentations)
- Keynote Speaker: Vandana Shiva, physicist and environmental activist
- Paper Presentations facilitated by Martha Miller, UCLA, MS Krishnan, University of Michigan, Priya Gupta, Amrita
- Alexsandra M R Rosa: Actions for Better Gender Insertion in Integrated Water Resource Management
- Radhika Mohan: The Perception of Community on Women Holding Political Offices : A Socio Ecological System Perspective
- Bernard Attah-Otu and Angan Sengupta: Internal Migration and Feminization of Labor Among Refugees: The Post-Pandemic Role of Refugee’s Women In Adagom Refugee Settlement
- Veena Suresh: Women Self Help Groups a social change agent for rural women in India
- Jyothsna R: Conceptualization of Women's Empowerment Based on Twitter Sentiment Analysis: A Systematic Literature Review
- 19:00 - 19:30 – Mindfulness/Meditation session with Br. Mokshamrita Chaitanya
- 19:30 - 21:00 – Concurrent Breakout Sessions: Parallel Workshops & Fireside Chat
- Room 1 – Workshop: Game-based workshop for Women's Empowerment, with Anshul Agrawal & Subarna S. & Holon perspectives
- Room 2 – Workshop: Using Dialogue as a Process Tool towards Capacity Building and Women’s Empowerment, Deepthy Raghavendra & team from ITM Business School
- Main Lobby – Fireside Chat - The Systems Sanctuary, Tatiana Fraser & Rachel Sinha, Facilitated by Maya Narayan, Si Mumbai Hub
- 21:00-21:30 – Special Presentation by Invited Guest Speaker: Sairee Chahal, CEO & Founder, SHEROES and Mahila Money
DAY 3 (5.5 HRS)
- 15:30-16:00 – Opening Session: Honoring the International Women’s Day theme: #BreakTheBias
- Keynote Speaker: Sundari Nanda, Special Commissioner Administration, Delhi Police
- Special video message by Losang Rabgey, Co-founder and Executive Director, Machik
- Keynote Speakers: Sarthak Das, CEO, Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance & Andy Carmone, Clinical Director, Clinton Health Access Initiative
- 16:00 - 17:30 – Session: Safety, Security and Health (Keynote Speaker, Discussants and paper presentations)
- Paper Presentations facilitated by Maria Laura Corradi, University of Calabria, Pravin Patkar, Prerana NGO & Krishnashree Achutan, Amrita
- Prerna Barua: Creating Safety For Ourselves: Non-Judicial Responses to Sexual and Gender Based Violence Among Asylum Seekers and Migrant Workers
- W. Cyril Allen Jonathan: Workplace Interpersonal Trust Among Women Employees
- Hulya Simga: Looking at Child, Early and Forced Marriages from a Systems Thinking Perspective: An Evaluation on Turkey
- Tanuja Prasad: Complexity, Biomedicine, Eastern Medicines & Women: Where is The “Female Half” in the Models of Biomedicine?
- 17:30-18:00 – Mindfulness/Meditation session with Br. Mokshamrita Chaitanya
- 18:00 - 19:30 – Workshop: Understanding Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality Using a Systems Innovation Approach, with Si Mumbai Hub and Srinivasan Services Trust
- 19:30 - 21:00 – Conference Closing Session
- Closing Keynote: Uma Mahadevan Dasgupta, Principal Secretary, Panchayati Raj, Government of Karnataka
- Reflections, Intentions and Take-aways led by Chris Kripasagar Coley, Center for Women’s Empowerment & Gender Equality (Amrita)
- Next Steps - Dr. Tarek Rashed, Adjunct Professor, Amrita
- Vote of Thanks
- Ceremonial Closing, Dr. Bhavani Rao, UNESCO Chair on Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment (India)
Fritjof Capra, Ph.D.
World-renowned scientist, educator, activist and author of "The Tao of Physics."
Maria Laura Corradi, Ph.D.
Research Professor of Gender Studies and Intersectional Methodology, University of Calabria, Italy.
Global KM and Partnership Advisor, UNDP Climate and Forests, UN Development Programme.
Chief, Economic Empowerment(former), UN Women Independent Consultant (present).
M.S. Krishnan, Ph.D.
Professor of Technology and Operations, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.
Martha Miller, Ph.D.
Faculty Director, Women's Leadership Institute, UCLA.
Int'l Programs and Faculty, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, CEO & Founder, Hummingbird Associates.
Lecturer at University of Geneva, Consultant, International Committee of the Red Cross.
Deepa Narayan, Ph.D.
World-renowned author and speaker, former Senior Advisor, World Bank, Washington D.C.
Sidney Strauss, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, Tel Aviv University, Adjunct Prof. Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.
The conference will welcome topics under the following themes
Track I: Theory
- Theoretical approaches and frameworks that incorporate systems thinking and holistic methods and models for women’s empowerment and gender equality (WE&GE)
Track II: Applied research, project findings, and evidence-based practices
- Applications of systems thinking to WE&GE
- Computational social sciences, simulation, machine learning algorithms for WE&GE
- Technological innovations for WE&GE
- Impact evaluation studies
Track III: Capacity building, Training, and Panel discussions
- Practice focused workshops
- Tutorial sessions
- Presentation of open-source tools and curriculum
- October 22, 2021: Call for Papers issued
- December 19th, 2021 (11:59 PM IST): Initial deadline for submitting abstract papers and workshop or tutorial sessions proposals
- December 26th, 2021 (11:59 PM IST): Extended deadline for submitting abstract papers and workshop or tutorial sessions proposals
- January 19th, 2022: Paper Acceptance notification and Paper Guidelines
- February 17th, 2022 (11:59 PM IST): Final Submission of full Papers, Workshops and Tutorial agendas
- March 3rd-5th, 2022: 3-day Virtual Conference (held from India)
Bhavani Rao R, Ph.D., Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham – Organizer
Tarek Rashed, Ph.D, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham – Organizer
Karen Moawad, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham – Organizer
Tanuja Prasad, Systems Innovation Mumbai – Organizer
Maya Narayan, Systems Innovation Mumbai – Organizer
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University)is a multi-disciplinary, research-intensive, private university, educating a student population of over 20,000 by 1700+ strong faculty. Amrita offers more than 200 UG, PG, and Ph.D. programs in Engineering, Management, Medical & Life Sciences, Arts & Humanities, and Social Sciences. In a short span of 15 years, we have established 180+ collaborations with Top 500 world-ranked universities as Amrita is emerging as one of the fastest-growing institutions of higher learning in India. Amrita has been selected by the Indian Government as an Institution of Eminence to be developed into a world-class institution that would put India on the global education map. In THE University Impact Rankings, a pioneering initiative to recognize universities around the world for their social and economic impact, Amrita has been ranked among the Top 300 in the world.
The Center for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality (CWEGE) and Ammachi Labs are two research centers within Amrita University, focusing on promoting gender equality and fostering women’s empowerment with a special focus on technology and other innovative methods. The fact that CWEGE has been designated as India’s only UNESCO Chair in Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment since 2016 is a testimony to the commitment, success, and progress made towards achieving societal transformation and conducting world-class research.
CWEGE’s significant contribution towards this agenda is our flagship systems-based solution model that represents a ground-breaking and innovative methodology to tackle the complex and context-specific requirements related to women’s socio-economic empowerment. It applies complex systems theory to design, implement, and assess effective interventions with active and inclusive participation. Our use of this solution model aligns with Amrita University’s mission for high-impact, compassion-driven research to deliver gender-transformative action rooted in research across all sustainability pillars and geographic contexts. This innovative solution is grounded in our core values of promoting social good, sustainability, systems-oriented approaches, participatory research, inclusivity, transparency, and accountable programming.
Systems Innovation is an eLearning and collaborative platform for systems thinking and systems change. We work to empower a diversity of individuals and organizations in learning and applying systems innovation ideas, by thinking in systems and understanding complexity to better manage and design complex systems towards realizing sustainable outcomes. We are a networked organization of about 10K members, about 60 Hub team members, 20 hub representatives, and 4 platform team members that contribute to creating content, organizing events, running the website, etc. Community members are broad and diverse in areas of work and interest from academics – students, professors, researchers; to management – consultants, analysts, policymakers; to designers, engineers, developers, and innovators.