Six years ago, twenty women who work in science or technology decided to get together, and build a network.
Now, female software developers, engineers, computer scientists, and others have created iWIST – Island Women in Science and Tech. And they’re looking for new members.
Robyn Quinn is very comfortable talking about STEM. “Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.”
Because Quinn has worked in those fields for many years…
“I worked for a lot of start-ups in technology, and one of the things I had noticed too was there were very few of us who were involved in the STEM sector, so that was the start.”
And so, Quinn spearheaded a get-together of like-minded women back in 2011.
That humble beginning has morphed into iWIST – Island Women In Science and Technology.
“Now it’s grown to over 300…we send out invitations and have our meetings and professional development days about every 2 months” says Quinn.
Katie Bateman McGoff is a web developer, business owner, and iWIST member.
“Near the end of high school, I decided I wanted to get into software development, and through university I did a software engineering degree, and became a web developer.”
And, were there a lot of women in her program?
“No. I had classrooms full of men. But once I started working, there was a little bit better balance in companies that I worked for, more than one at a time on a team, usually.”
But that ratio is changing.
Erin Athene, the Victoria Director of Lighthouse Labs, is pleased to mention that “four our of our ten Lighthouse Labs students are women, which is a really high ratio in the tech industry.”
Human Resources Leader Melissa Anderson explains why.
“The shortage of women in technology is no secret, and all the big companies are talking about it, and we [AbeBooks] want to do something about it.”
Robyn Quinn adds that “for many women who choose to go into the careers of science, tech, engineering or math, it can be difficult. You feel a bit like an outsider…”
This year’s Patio Party is Wednesday August 10 in Victoria. If you’re a STEM woman, click here for more information.