The University of Calgary's Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) program helps young women explore opportunities in underrepresented science and engineering fields. WISE enables women to connect with other female students and to seek out other campus organizations that can support them throughout their education. WISE president Searesh Munir says increasing the number of females in science and engineering fields requires constant education about new opportunities and resources.
Men have dominated the science and engineering fields for years, but there has been slow, steady progress in boosting female student numbers over the last two decades. "One of the major issues women face is around self-confidence and self-esteem and so we focus on building that foundation of giving them good life skills," says Calgary's Stephanie Garrett, a member of the school's Gender and Diversity in Engineering Committee.
Women face additional barriers in the workforce such as child care and an inequality in pay — women make 70 cents to 80 cents on the dollar compared to men for the same level of work. Garrett says the organization teaches women negotiation and leadership skills to overcome workplace inequalities. "Not everybody is OK in the male-dominated environment — they feel intimidated — so that's why we're here," Munir says.
From CanWest News Service
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