Government of Alberta opens new scholarship for women and gender-diverse STEM students

“As a government, we want to ensure that women have an equal chance of entering the fields of STEM,” Minister of Arts, Culture, and Status of Women in Alberta says.

The Government of Alberta recently opened two scholarships for post-secondary students studying in fields where their gender is underrepresented.

On October 10, the government introduced a new scholarship for female and gender-diverse students pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The Women in STEM Scholarship totals $125,000, and will be disbursed to 50 successful applicants in sums of $2,500 each.

As well, the annual Persons Case Scholarship is open for students in arts, humanities, and social science programs. It is for students whose work advances gender equality, and those pursuing careers in fields where their gender is underrepresented. There is $100,000 available, and a total of 40 students will receive $2,500 each.

Women in STEM Scholarship aims to dismantle gender barriers and continue economic growth in Alberta

To be eligible for the Women in STEM Scholarship, applicants must be enrolled in a post-secondary STEM program. This includes STEM-related skilled trades program.

Minister of Arts, Culture, and Status of Women in Alberta Tanya Fir said that the scholarship’s eligibility criteria “focuses on encouraging women students to enter the fields” in which their “gender is underrepresented.” In addition to facilitating their growth in educational programs, Fir said the goal is to encourage women to stay in Alberta after graduation by removing barriers and ensuring opportunities exist.

“This is one of many things we can do to hopefully encourage them to stay, live, and work in Alberta,” Fir said.

Fir said that despite making-up about half of Alberta’s population, women represent one-third of enrolments in STEM programs and one-quarter of employees in STEM careers.

She added that “empowering women to enter STEM fields of work” will dismantle systemic barriers. As well, it will help “continue with Alberta’s economic momentum.” 

“Everybody wins in that regard,” Fir said. “If we can fill those [job vacancies] with highly skilled Albertans, particularly Alberta’s women, that benefits not only them. It benefits our economy and our families, too.” 

“As a government, we want to ensure that women have an equal chance of entering the fields of STEM. We know that when women can fully participate in our community, our province thrives. This scholarship is just one of many ways that our government is trying to support women and girls.”

Persons Case Scholarship to support students in arts, humanities, and social sciences

On October 18, the Persons Case Scholarship opened its application intake for the 44th year. In order to be eligible, post-secondary students must be currently enrolled in an arts, humanities, or a social sciences program.

The Government of Alberta established the annual scholarship in 1979, in honour of the Persons Case constitutional ruling. In 1928, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that women were not persons, and therefore couldn’t be appointed to the Senate of Canada. A year later, the Famous Five — Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Emily Murphy, and Irene Parlby — got a higher court to overturn the ruling.

Fir said the scholarship is open to both men and women. However, it focuses on those “whose work advances gender equality.” It also supports students “who are studying in fields where their gender is underrepresented or disadvantaged.”

“We want more women in technical fields. And, it would be great to have more men representatives in an area like a women’s studies course,” Fir said. “With these various scholarships, we can support both those in the science and technology field, and those in the social sciences.”

Aparajita Rahman

Aparajita Rahman is the 2023-24 Staff Reporter at The Gateway. She is in her second year, studying Psychology and English. She enjoys reading, and getting lost on transit.

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