News Release Archive

STATUS OF WOMEN--Examining Ways to Steer Girls into Science 

An education system that is more in tune, parents who are more
aware, and industry that is more supportive are the keys to
attracting more girls and women to science and technology.

That was the consensus of a gathering today in Halifax of more
than 30 local women who are in science, engineering and
technology. The occasion was in honour of Women's History Month,
which has as its theme this year Women in Science and Technology.

"We wanted to gather women from all corners of the science and
technology fields, get to know them and solicit their advice on
how to make science and technology as attractive and exciting for
girls as it seems to be for boys," said Patricia Doyle-Bedwell,
chair of the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

The advisory council and DalTech co-sponsored the event.

Participants agreed that girls are influenced from a young age
and that the education system plays a vital role in that
influence. Female science teachers as role models, teachers who
are gender-sensitized and guidance counsellors who are
knowledgeable about educational and career opportunities in
science and technology for women are what the education system
needs to examine.

"All too often, a girl is steered away from science because of
subtle and not-so-subtle messages that science isn't for girls,"
said Ms. Doyle-Bedwell. "And we know that's not true; girls are
just as capable as boys."

The group also suggested parents must be made more aware of the
opportunities in science for girls. If parents are knowledgeable,
understanding and provide a positive influence, that should
increase confidence and willingness to pursue what has
traditionally been a male domain.

The women acknowledged that attitude and self-image play a big
role in what a girl chooses to study. They said much more
attention needs to be paid both in the schools and at home to
boosting esteem and encouraging girls to challenge themselves.
They suggested that encouraging younger women to become involved
in women's groups and forums might be another way to achieve the
same thing.

Participants also called upon industry to pay more attention to
women in science and technology. Industry must welcome women and
make an effort to provide a comfortable learning and work
environment. Job shadowing, job sharing and co-op work programs
are some of the ways industry can be more supportive. Women who
are already working in the field of science and technology need
to be given the support to become mentors and role models for

"This was an excellent gathering; I think some very worthwhile
things came through in our discussions that we can pass along,"
said Ms. Doyle-Bedwell. "We do want to help make things happen
more easily for girls and women in science and technology."


Contact: Patricia Doyle-Bedwell
         Advisory Council on the Status of Women

ngr               Oct. 17, 1997                  4:30 pm