A Brock scientist has taken a lead role in an international organization of women engineers and scientists.
Liette Vasseur, Biological Sciences professor, is new Secretary General of the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists (INWES). The network, which supports women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, has more than 250,000 members from 60 countries. It was formed in 1999 during a UNESCO World Science Conference.
Vasseur has participated in women in science groups for a few years. Women in science face a lot of hurdles, even in Canada, she said. When she talks to graduate students, she discovers the same challenges she had as a graduate student, such as discrimination and maintaining a life balance.
“In some disciplines like computer science and engineering, the number of women graduating with a PhD is in decline in the past few years,” she said.
Vasseur’s research in developing countries has made it clear to her that opportunities for women play a crucial role in the development of a country, she said.
“In several countries, still today, girls and women are denied education, which tends to limit their possibility for a better life,” she said. “There is a need to examine the context in which women live in these countries and the barriers they deal with to get an education, and to find solutions that can be sustainable.”
Vasseur is the only Canadian on the INWES committee.