Stellenbosch, South Africa, April 5-9, 2011
Figure: Members of the Canadian delegation: S. Ghose, L.-H. Xu, M. Steinitz, R. Austin and M. Milner-Bolotin (from left to right), A. Dasgupta (not in photo.)
I was very fortunate to become a member of the Canadian Delegation that took part in the 4th International Union for Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) Conference for Women in Physics in Stellenbosch, South Africa. More than 250 delegates from 60 countries (mainly women) gathered in Stellenbosch to share their achievements in physics, discuss issues facing women and dual career families, share experiences on how to attract girls to physics, and how to provide the best professional development for science teachers.
The participation of the Canadian delegation was made possible by the support of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, NSERC, Canadian Association of Physicists and the team members’ universities.
The focus of this meeting was on catalyzing international research partnerships and collaborations, sharing best practices and building capacity for the participants to return to their countries equipped to take actions that will further increase and advance the participation of women in physics.
The Canadian Team presented posters, oral presentations, chaired a session, and participated in the Outreach event for local high school girls. Our Country Team Poster was entitled: Women in Physics in Canada.
Based on our discussions, we saw that Canada has been able to address many of the problems faced by women in science that other countries are still grappling with. Outreach activities in Canada are also something we all can be proud of: Canadian universities and research institutions offer world-class science opportunities for K-12 science students and teachers.
To participate in a physics conference, where the majority of participants were women from all around the world was a very special opportunity for me. It was very inspiring to see the achievements made by women-physicists in the last decades. The Conference attracted excellent plenary speakers. Their presentations can be listened to online at: http://physics.yale.edu/4th-international-conference-women-physics.
On April 9th, I participated in a special outreach event that attracted more than 100 local high school girls and their physics teachers. We hope, as a result, that we will establish connections between physics teachers’ associations of South Africa and Canada.
As IUPAP is searching for the venue to host the next 5th International IUPAP Conference for Women in Physics, I cannot help but think how exciting it would be to bring the Conference to Canada.
To see more photos from the Conference, please visit:
Dr. Marina Milner-Bolotin
Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy