The history of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in Canada is still poorly studied. The contribution of Canadian women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is often overlooked and deserves to be highlighted. The absence of women’s representations in the archives may be one of the factors explaining the low amount of research carried out in this field. Historically, it was the archives of men that were privileged for preservation. The tendency to underestimate women’s achievements in STEM or the attribution of their achievements to men, may have also led women themselves not to preserve their documents.
The Canadian Archive of Women in STEM project aims to address this invisibility of Canadian women in the history of STEM. Developed by the University of Ottawa Archives and Special Collections and Library and Archives Canada, in partnership with the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists – Education and Research Institute (INWES-ERI), the project aims to increase public access to archives documenting the work and history of Canadian women in the STEM fields.
The Canadian Archive of Women in STEM portal is hosted on the University of Ottawa Archives and Special Collections website. It is a centralized tool that lists all existing archival fonds and collections in Canada that document the contribution of women in STEM fields.
The Canadian Archive of Women in STEM project also promotes the preservation of historical archives that will reflect the current status, experiences, successes and challenges of women in STEM for future generations. The website of the Canadian Archive of Women in STEM is positioned as a reference source for those who wish to donate their archives, by providing a practical guide for organizing and preparing records to be donated to an archive. Some archival holdings will be added to the existing collection of Women’s Archives at the University of Ottawa, which includes holdings such as that of Monique Frize, the first woman to graduate in engineering from the University of Ottawa in 1966.
The Canadian Archive of Women women in STEM Portal, as well as the “How-To” guide for preparing your records for donation and blog articles featuring selected collections, can be found on the website at https://biblio.uottawa.ca/en/women-in-stem/about.
For further information, you can also contact the Archives and Special Collections team at email@example.com. (By Marie Noel, University of Ottawa)