Women in Engineering and Science – moving forward worldwide

In August, Professor of Systems and Computer Engineering Monique Frize travelled to Kenya as part of a broad initiative to train African women scientists and engineers in entrepreneurial and leadership skills. She wrote the following story about her experience.

Eighty women from 16 African countries and several other parts of the world attended the workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, in August. The event was organized through a partnership of the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists (INWES) and African Women in Science and Engineering (AWSE).

INWES, a non-profit corporation registered in Canada, aims to strengthen the capacity of individuals, organizations, and corporations; influence policies in science and engineering worldwide; and encourage the education, recruitment, retention, support, and advancement of professional women and students through an international network of organizations and experts.

We planned our first regional event in Africa, as it is a most needy region. The objective was to train African women scientists and engineers on leadership and entrepreneurial skills and enhance their knowledge on financing small businesses. The event provided a medium for developing alliances and networks and for women scientists and engineers to share and learn from each other. Participants were encouraged to help their communities after they returned home. The results indicate that the women are more confident and should gain increased recognition by employers and their communities. We hope they will increasingly be involved in decision-making processes and gain access to important positions in industrialization and entrepreneurship. We hope to see a better financial and social status for African women and increased participation with communities through projects initiated by these women.

INWES succeeded in obtaining funding from the Canadian International Development Agency and the International Development Research Centre. The INWES-AWSE Regional Workshop was a great success and can now be a model for INWES activities in other parts of the world.

Personally, this event provided me with much insight into African issues for women, and I was very happy that INWES could help in assisting with funding and in designing parts of the program. My husband Peter and I, and nine other INWES participants, subsequently traveled to Samburu, Mount Kenya, and Maasai Mara for seven days after the workshop and discovered the wild animals of Africa. Both the workshop and the safari were unforgettable experiences.

From – http://www.now.carleton.ca/2004-11/561.htm

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