The University of Toronto Mississauga’s Student Union (UTMSU) has recognized a new club called Women in Science and Computing (WiSC), as of October 1. The club is set to launch officially in January 2020 with the start of the winter term.
WiSC was started with the goal of creating opportunities for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, but it also places an emphasis on promoting diversity and inclusion. WiSC encourages students from any range of disciplines and of any gender to join.
“We should be bringing all women to the table, [but] it can’t just be women talking about what we face,” said WiSC president Vaneezeh Siddiqui to The Medium.
Siddiqui believes women in particular are underrepresented in STEM programs, since they lack access to female role models. Imposter Syndrome—the persistent belief that one’s success is undeserved—is a prevalent underlying issue that Siddiqui notes many women around her feel.
WiSC aims to provide a platform where issues of gender gaps can be discussed and tackled on campus.
When asked about what inspired her to establish WiSC, Siddiqui cited her first-year experience at university. “I would actively look for girls, […] people who echo the feelings I do.”
Siddiqui was actively engaged in events at the St. George campus but felt the absence of a community of her own here at UTM.
WiSC’s projected events include the launch party in January during which there will be a screening of the documentary Dream, Girl, and a separate recruiting event with the company Yelp.
WiSC will also host community events like team dancing and fireside chats about anything and everything university-related, as well as destressing events and workshops to help build personal brands.
True to its ethos, the WiSC team is entirely female run. In just a month since its inception, it has built its team from the ground up and already has a sizeable following on social media.
“We are incredibly excited to bring this to life,” said Siddiqui. “There’s so much energy in the room, everyone [is] so passionate and ready to share.”
Their first event, called the Cocoa and Cram, invites students to join their major study session while enjoying some treats.
With exams right around the corner, Siddiqui emphasized the need for community and destressing activities.
“You’re not alone in dealing with exam stress,” said Siddiqui. “[Cocoa and Cram will be] a place for you to find people to work with, and just keep your vibes calmer and more positive.”
The Cocoa and Cram will be held on December 6 in the presentation room at the Student Centre from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.