The goals of the International Women in Science and Engineering (IWISE) program are to enhance the status of professional women scientists from developing countries and countries in transition and to assist them in their efforts to improve conditions in their home countries. These goals are reached by providing women scientists with opportunities for collaboration in their scientific areas, leadership training, and support of projects they undertake that will improve the educational and social environments in their home countries.
In the past two years, twenty four women scientists from Albania, Cote Ivoire, Czech Republic, El Salvador, Kenya, Nigeria, Romania, Russia, Tanzania, Turkey, and Ukraine have participated in the IWISE Leadership Program. Results from this pilot project reveals how successful our model can be.
The scientific knowledge and project management skills that participants acquire during the IWISE Leadership Program, combined with their participation in grass-roots networks and their first-hand knowledge of women's development needs, will empower these women scientists to undertake leadership roles in international development efforts. They are now now receiving support for projects they designed to address pressing development issues in their home countries.
Two'96 IWISE alumnae have already achieved major accomplishments:
Participants in IWISE '97 have designed projects to meet similar challenges.
IWISE promotes the professional advancement of international women scientists from developing and transitional countries in their chosen disciplines through (1) support of their scientific research, (2) leadership training, and (3) assistance for self-generated projects.
Women scientists in developing countries often have more difficulty obtaining resources to support their research. They also lack support for travel to scientific meetings, often their only source of information about advancements in their disciplines. IWISE addresses these issues by bringing participants to universities and major laboratories in the United States to conduct research with U.S. colleagues and to utilize the resources of U.S. libraries and laboratories. Although during the pilot phase all participants have been at Iowa State University, we expect to place some IWISE '98 participants at other U.S. sites.
Women scientists are often excluded from decision making processes, depriving them of opportunities to develop leadership skills. IWISE develops leadership skills through many training opportunities. IWISE scientists participate in a mentoring program and develop grant proposals using brainstorming and team building techniques. These activities will enable them to attain leadership positions when they return to their home countries. Several '96 IWISE participants have already been promoted to senior administrative positions.
IWISE obtains funding from foundations and international development agencies to support alumnae follow-on projects. IWISE also identifies partners and funders for the scientific work of its alumnae. IWISE seeks to develop strong information links through email and the internet that will enable the growing IWISE network of international women scientists to communicate with colleagues regionally and globally.
IWISE is a multi disciplinary program of the International Institute of Theoretical and Applied Physics (IITAP) operating in partnership with the Iowa State University (ISU) Program for Women in Science and Engineering (PWSE). IITAP was established by Iowa State University of Science and Technology and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1993 to promote international exchange in science and technology. The Program for Women in Science and Engineering was established in 1986 to increase the number of women pursuing careers in science and engineering. IWISE was established in 1995 to promote the participation of women scientists from developing countries in international scientific projects. IWISE addresses one of the four major priorities of UNESCO, to improve the education of women in developing countries.
Dr. Mary Ann Evans, IWISE Co-Coordinator
Dr. Ardith Maney, IWISE Co-Coordinator
Dr. James Vary, Director, IITAP
210 Lab of Mechanics
Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011
fax (515) 294-8627