I describe myself as the Queen of Fellowships because I have done so many in the past few years. All of them have been special and instrumental in helping me grow personally and professionally. Each fellowship has been different and has filled a need at that point in time.

Often I am asked for advice on how to fill up a fellowship application. So I thought to pen down my thoughts and provide guidance on what has worked for me when writing the application or being part of the interview process. …

We recently celebrated the 72nd anniversary of our Republic Day when the Constitution came into being. On the day I reflected on how lucky I was to be born in a democratic country, India where I am guaranteed equal rights as a woman.

However, that feeling was short-lived as I read news reports of the recent judgement of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court in the interpretation of Section 7 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. She said that a man groping a 12-year-old child without removing her clothes is not sexual assault.


Socially just transition towards sustainable development: the role of digital technologies on social development and well-being of all”.

The theme of the 59th Commission for Social Development in 2021 is extremely relevant and important and I would like to highlight that it must ensure that all people — women and girls as well — must be included. However that is not the case in India, where we are still struggling to meet the standards of equality and inclusiveness when it comes to women and girls.

Despite the Beti bachao, beti padhao (Save daughters, educate daughters) campaign of the Government of…

Am trying something new…capturing some of the personal highlights in August to remind me that even in lockdown mode I can be productive, happy, successful and creative.

Gender Alliance Summit

About three years ago, I was invited to attend a BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt’s Responsible Leader retreat in the Brazilian rainforest. The retreat was meant to discuss the strategy of the Foundation and brainstorm sessions to develop the network. I was inspired by the member profiles to suggest a collaboration of feminists in the network across the globe. …

Taken in Sigtuna, Sweden in 2015

The first question everybody asks me nowadays is, “Where are you Elsa?”

Not surprising, because if you know me, you are aware of my hectic travel schedule. And with the current COVID19 health scare resulting in social distancing and lockdowns enforced in various countries, my friends and acquaintances are concerned about my wellbeing.

Luckily for me, when the situation started to deteriorate in India, I was still in Mumbai which is my home. I had a series of overseas trips ahead of me for the next three months and whilst I was evaluating to pro-actively cancel my travel, the government…

Seeing 2020

You can become a thought leader by intentionally writing on key issues.

Source: Your Story

I woke up in the New Year to find that I was one of hundred people listed by YourStory as an “Emerging Voice of India”. The top 100 Emerging Voices of 2019 includes entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders, activists, healthcare workers, journalists, authors, and bloggers from across India and the world, who have contributed high-quality, insightful and engaging content for Your Story readers. Your Story further states that, “among these experts, we have found that every year, there is always a crop of emerging thought leaders whose thoughts and…

credit — Your Story

Last week during the International Women’s Forum World Leadership Conference in Toronto, I shared a lunch table with a 2018 Nobel Prize laureate in chemistry, Dr Frances Arnold. The room was full of accomplished women like her — Olympic athletes, Nobel Prize winners, astronauts, medical geniuses, CEOs. It was exhilarating to be in their midst and realise the range of talented minds in the room.

Just days earlier, I had attended a leadership programme for 37 women that preceded the conference and my feelings were quite different. Reading the biographies of my classmates made me feel inadequate and intimidated. Why…

Safecity collaborated with OMDENA on an AI challenge. Here’s what we learned and why is it important.

This past week I spoke with a group of students at the University of District of Columbia about crowd mapping sexual violence in public spaces. . I explained to them how the anonymous stories women and girls share on my organization Safecity’s website gives us clues on location based trends and patterns that contribute to the violence.

One of the students mentioned that some of the DC metro subway stations attract predators around when they are shutting down at night. In fact, she…

Am on a DC #fairshot Circulator bus as I type this. If you are in DC do take any one of these buses for FREE. You can get around the city centre for free on any of these. A wonderful initiative started by Mayor Muriel Bowser in the month of March to help working people especially young people with huge student loans have more disposable income and encourage them to take public transport. This scheme has been well received and is now extended indefinitely.

When Mr Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi, announced his initiative for free bus and metro rides…

I have just returned from the UN’s SDG Global Festival of Action where Safecity won the award in the Visualiser Category. For those who don’t know, the SDGs are Sustainable Development Goals which the Governments of the world decided to achieve by 2030 for a just, inclusive and sustainable planet. The Festival was meant to be a celebration of the achievements and innovations around the world to facilitate the SDGs.

It was a moment of reflection for not just me but everyone around, as clearly the world is lagging behind in its path to achieving the goals and time is running out. As I was reflecting on the current situation in my country given that we are in the midst of a national election, I was surprised that the discourse was on everything except the issues that matter. Clearly, our politicians are more interested in name calling matches and slinging mud at each other but hardly talking about issues that affect everyday lives of citizens. …


Contradiction of sorts — dreamer and doer, introvert yet extrovert, grounded whilst always flying. Feminist. Know more www.elsamariedsilva.com; www.safecity.in

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store