Being a woman in technology comes with a lot of barriers given the lack of representation. However, that hasn’t stopped women from pursuing their dreams and passions by joining STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) related fields. In fact, society and culture are changing for the better, and more people are creating an inclusive landscape. This change and inclusion are long overdue. Given this struggle and perseverance, it’s always helpful and vital to have support systems in place to aid women in breaking into STEM. WISE is a fantastic organization and resource for women around the world who are breaking into STEM as a career. Learning about resources like WISE can help you no matter what stage of your career or education you are at.
What is WISE?
The great thing about WISE is they aim to spread awareness and change across the board. This means they have programs and events in place to reach; employers, educators, students, professionals, research institutions and the general public. This is fantastic because each of these groups has something to learn when it comes to women in this industry. More importantly, real change happens when a high percentage of the population understands and welcomes the change, and that is exactly what WISE’s goal is. This organization reaches these groups by hosting local events across the world, reaching schools by providing educators with in-class workshops and creating videos and other promotional media online.
Every organization concerning women in STEM has the implied goal of spreading awareness and representation for women in science and engineering. However, this group has specific goals laid along with their course of action. WISE’s long term goal is a balanced representation of men and women in STEM both in classrooms and out in the workplace. Their short term goal is one million more women working in core STEM occupations by 2020. Having these goals is so important because it means this organization is moving towards reachable and tangible targets that will make real change.
Events are a great way to bring like-minded people together to share their interests and skills. These events can in particular help young aspiring engineers to network, and learn from successful women in their field. WISE holds several webinars that connect professionals, students and curious people around the world. Having the advantages and skills of the internet at our disposable is connecting people like we have never seen before. What better way to use this connection than spreading skills and knowledge? These events allow professional women in STEM to speak on their experiences, and teach new skills to all that attend. WISE also hosts events to track the progress of women’s inclusion within post-secondary institutions. This is very important because it keeps these institutions accountable and on track. When striving to reach such important goals accountability is everything. These events are also great for problem-solving and sharing success stories.
Where Can You Find WISE?
Several colleges and universities that offer engineering programs have a WISE institution inside of their school, connecting students to this powerful organization. An example is the University of Toronto, located in Ontario. These in-school programs allow students to have hands-on leadership experiences within this community of females. It is a great opportunity to apply what you are learning in the classroom to invoke real change. Much like the original organization, these in-school groups host several events. These events all take place at their school to spread WISE’s goals locally.
I hope the discovery of this organization inspires you to seek education and community within these STEM-related groups. They are a great way to learn from professionals and find much-needed support. Education and success is not a solo journey, and having a strong community by your side is always an asset.