Many Canadian universities are making efforts to attract girls to the sciences and engineering. The University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia have recently reported increases in the number of women entering their engineering programs, but there still remains a significant gender gap in many fields related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
According to Engineers Canada, just 18.3 percent of undergraduate engineering degrees awarded in 2013 went to women. Post Secondary institutions are working with other organizations to fix that by engaging girls before they reach high school. According to Jennifer Flanagan, the CEO of Actua, an Ottawa-based charity that promotes science to children, “research has shown that many girls lose their interest in the sciences by the time they enter ninth grade, meaning that many don’t take the advanced courses they need to enter STEM programs at university.”
Part of the problem is parents who often influence their children’s career choices based on stereotypes. Many project their beliefs that these careers are for their sons, not their daughters.
The University of Toronto offers an outreach program encouraging girls to learn about science, York University runs all-girls courses that teach science using superheroes, and UBC offers summer camps including a Girls Only week to provide a place for girls to discover science and engineering.
Source: Winnipeg Free Press