Women in science: spark interest from an early age, says organization

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Women and science: interest needs to be sparked from an early age, says organization

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The priority is to interest young women in science from an early age, according to the Canadian Society of Women in Science and Technology.

The Canadian Society of Women in Science and Technology, an organization that has encouraged women to study and work in science for more than 40 years, says there is now much more support, mentorship and networking for women in science, but challenges remain.

On the International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2023, Saturday, the organization founded in 1981 , took stock of the progress made over more than 40 years.

There are more women who are interested [in science], they are [in this field], they advocate for other women and they work to break down barriers, says Jasmine Parmar, director communications to the Canadian Society of Women in Science and Technology.

There is a lot more support and pathways [for young girls and women] now than 40 years ago, she adds.

The Canadian Society of Women in Science and Technology is a pan-Canadian association made up of women working in science who want to encourage and offer mentorship to young girls who wish to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

We have women engineers, chemists, women who work in life sciences and in different industries, says Ms. Parmar.

Girls and Code initiative seeks to engage girls in the field of computing from the age of 12 years.

At 18, I was very good in math and science at school and the teachers encouraged me to continue on this path, shares Jasmine Parmar. On the other hand, she would have liked to have had more information and mentors when she made her career choice.

« I was wondering [if] I should go into life sciences or engineering. I chose life sciences because it seemed more suited to women, I saw engineering as a job that takes place in a construction field and a field dominated by men.

—Jasmine Parmar

The most important thing is to interest women at a young age. We are losing so many young girls from elementary to high school, from high school to college, and from college to the workforce. The biggest challenge is to increase the talent pool [of young women]!

The Canadian Society of Women in Science and Technology has several strategies and resources to inform, engage and support women in science. Scholarships and grants enable young female students to develop science projects and organize science fairs.

A mentorship program also pairs experienced women with young girls who want to learn more about careers in science and technology. Several initiatives also target members of racialized groups, the LGBTQ+ community and Indigenous peoples.

When asked which area of ​​science and technology is growing and where young girls should go, Jasime Parmar mentions tech and cloud computing jobs. These are well-paid jobs that allow people to work from home and where labor is in high demand, she explains.

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